50th Anniversary Celebration

Nursing Program
Nursing students from the early days of Illinois Wesleyan's four-year baccalaureate program.

Celebrate Nursing,
Celebrate Gold

50th Anniversary of the
BSN Program

April 17, 2010


Illinois Wesleyan celebrated the 50th anniversary of the founding of its four-year baccalaureate nursing program with special events on April 17, 2010.

All nursing alumni were welcomed, including those who attended before and after the current program began in 1959.

"This celebration provided an opportunity not only to recognize the role Illinois Wesleyan has played in nursing education, but also to celebrate our alumni's contributions to the field of nursing," said Vickie Folse, School of Nursing Director.

Timeline Key Dates in the History of Nursing at Illinois Wesleyan University


Brokaw School of Nursing founded at what is now the BroMenn Regional Medical Center in Normal, Ill.

1923 Illinois Wesleyan and Brokaw School of Nursing together establish a five-year degree program.
1958 Illinois Wesleyan's Board of Trustees votes to establish the Brokaw Collegiate School of Nursing at IWU.
1959 The new school opens, launching the University's four-year baccalaureate program in nursing.


Highlights of the April celebration included a look at how the fields of nursing and nursing education have dramatically changed in the past 50 years, and how the perception of nurses has evolved in society.

Central figures in the program's history were commemorated, including the late Lloyd M. Bertholf, who led the movement to create a four-year baccalaureate program during his tenure as Illinois Wesleyan's president, and Mary D. Shanks, who was the first director of the Brokaw Collegiate School of Nursing.

Barbara (Carlson) Nathan, a 1980 graduate of the School of Nursing, served as the anniversary program's chair, while Caroline F. Rupert Professor of Nursing Donna Hartweg helped to coordinate the event.