Signe Skott Cooper devoted more than 60 years to nursing education at UW–Madison and within the UW System. She died July 16, 2013, having pledged her own estate and that of her sister to the UW Foundation to support the construction of a new state-of-the-art facility for School of Nursing students.
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2016: Dean Scott
Linda Scott is appointed dean.
2012-14: Cooper Hall
In 2012, the UW Board of Regents approved the naming of the new School of Nursing building as Signe Skott Cooper Hall in recognition of Cooper’s lifelong commitment to the university, school, and profession. Construction begins on May 24, 2012 at 701 Highland Avenue.
Signe Skott Cooper Hall officially opens in August, 2014.
2010: DNP program
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is launched with post-BS and post-MS options.
2005: MS/MPH dual degree
MS/MPH Dual Degree Program is offered jointly with the School of Medicine and Public Health.
2004: Nurse Educators for Tomorrow
Nurse Educators for Tomorrow (NET) Option is introduced, offering nurses the opportunity to enroll in a master’s program online or to gain post-master’s credits while remaining in their home communities.
2003: Early entry PhD
Early Entry PhD Option in nursing is established.
Western Campus for Nursing in LaCrosse is created in partnership with the Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation to offer BS program on site.
2001: Dean May
Katharyn May is appointed dean. She leads the school through the realization of the new building.
1997: Signe's Gift
Signe Skott Cooper makes the first gift commitment to the School of Nursing’s new building. Cooper later donated her late sister’s estate to develop a historical suite in the new building.
1996: BSN@Home (RN to BSN) and the Dean's Club
The Collaborative Nursing Program, a partnership of five UW System nursing schools, uses distance learning technology to allow practicing nurses to complete a BS in nursing. The program was renamed BSN@Home in 2006.
Dean Littlefield establishes the Dean’s Club to recognize generous contributors and proposes the idea for a separate School of Nursing building, for which she actively seeks funds.
1984: Dean Littlefield and a new PhD program
Vivian Littlefield is appointed dean; she leads the school through a time of substantial progress in academics and research.
The PhD program is established—a joint program in nursing and psychology. Secondary concentration areas are added in 1991.
1978: Clinical Sciences Center
The School of Nursing becomes first unit to occupy the new Clinical Science Center on the west end of campus, funded in part with a $4 million federal grant to construct new nursing education facilities.
1975: Geriatric NP program
The school initiates Wisconsin’s first nurse practitioner (NP) program in geriatrics.
1970: Dean Prock
Valencia Prock is appointed dean.
1964: First graduate nursing program
The school offers the first graduate nursing program in the UW System is introduced through an MS degree in pediatric nursing.
1960: The First Male Students
Male students are admitted to the program. The Nurses Dormitory closes as a student residence.
1959: Dean Bunge
Helen Bunge is appointed director. During her tenure, the school becomes an autonomous unit within the university, and she is titled a dean.
1956: Four-year nursing degree
Four-year nursing degree is instituted; school’s certificate program is discontinued.
1955: Continuing education
UW Extension offers nursing courses jointly with the School of Nursing, providing opportunities for nurses throughout the state.
1950: From Hygiene to Nursing
The nursing degree title is changed from BS (Hygiene) to BS (Nursing).
1949: New Director
Margery MacLachlan is appointed director.
1943: WW II
The school participates in the U.S. Cadet Corps program during World War II, providing students with tuition, books, and uniforms.
1938: New Director
Christina Murray is appointed director.
1927: First nursing certificate graduates
The school awards nursing certificates to its first graduating class of eleven students.
1926: Nurses' Dormitory
Nurses’ Dormitory at 1402 University Avenue opens. Dormitory space limits class enrollment.
1924: First collegiate nursing program in WI
In Madison, the University of Wisconsin establishes the first collegiate nursing program in the state and one of the earliest in the country. The program was based on the belief that a rigorous education was essential for effective nursing practice. Helen Denne Schulte is appointed the program’s first director.