The Catholic University of America


School of Nursing
– Since 1932

125 emblem

Historical Highlights

  Gowan Hall
  Shown here under construction in 1961, Gowan Hall is home to the nursing program.

Nursing as a field of study was introduced to The Catholic University of America in summer session in 1932.

The early developmental period of nursing within the University reflected society’s needs for professionally educated teachers of nursing and for nurses prepared to apply public health science and to utilize teaching as a method of rendering nursing assistance with emphasis on family and community health.

With the recommendation of then Rector, Bishop James Hugh Ryan, the Board of Trustees voted in 1935 to shift the Division of Nursing Education and Public Health Nursing to be organized permanently as one of the professional schools of the University. Sister M. Olivia Gowan, O.S.B. was appointed dean.

In 1937, plans began to develop for an undergraduate division to offer basic professional education for nursing practice. In 1939, the Providence Hospital School of Nursing, Washington, D.C., became the Providence Division of the School of Nursing Education and during the next decade gradually moved toward complete identification with the university. In 1949 the university assumed full responsibility for the undergraduate program.

In subsequent years, advanced degree programs were added to the school's offerings, including Master of Science in Nursing, Doctor of Nursing Science, Doctor of Philosophy, and Doctor of Nursing Practice.

The story of The Catholic University of America School of Nursing is one of partnership with the health facilities throughout the D.C. metropolitan area — relationships that still exist today. Students in CUA's nursing programs gain clinical experience in 100 of the Washington Metropolitan area's premier health care facilities often with alumni preceptors.

Anniversary Event

Improving Care Through Personal Growth, part of the Instilling Hope Conference Series, was held on April 4, 2012, in the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center. The conference was sponsored by the School of Nursing as part of its celebration of Catholic University's 125th anniversary.

Conference speakers included:

  • James Howard, the Wylma R. and James R. Curtin Professor of Psychology at The Catholic University of America, and adjunct professor of neurology and psychology at Georgetown University.
  • Georgia L. Stevens, a nurse psychotherapist and consultant, and director of P.A.L. Associates: Partners in Aging and Long-Term Caregiving in Washington, D.C.
  • Lori Landsburg, a child and adolescent nurse psychotherapist with a private practice.
  • Janet Merritt, an advanced practice nurse on the faculty of the School of Nursing at CUA, directing the programs in psych/mental health.
  • Stacy Pershall, a writer and belly dancer in New York City.