In 1939, the University of Pittsburgh saw a need for nurses due to the ramp-up in military actions in Europe and Asia. Locally, hospitals were noting a lack of civilian workers, which would be even further amplified if nurses were called to the military. Pitt’s trustees resolved to establish the School of Nursing and the Provost appointed Ruth Perkins Kuehn as its first dean.
The School was officially founded at the University of Pittsburgh on April 6, 1939. The first students were admitted and the first faculty member (Alice Crist Malone) was recruited in 1940.
Over the past seven decades, Pitt Nursing has led the evolution of nursing education and research, responding to the needs of health care, society and patients. The impact that the School has had on nursing education, research, and practice can be felt in hospitals from Southwestern Pennsylvania to Cambodia and Thailand; in universities around the world; and at the highest levels of military and international health organizations.
From the first class pinned in 1943 to those who graduated on April 29, 2022, Pitt nurses have used the knowledge and skills gained here to advance patient care and nursing science.