School of Nursing History
Changes Based on Growth Within the University and the Profession
Sister Mary Susanne Smith, S.S.M.
Sister Mary Susanne Smith, S.S.M. succeeded Sister Geraldine as Dean. She initiated discussion with the dean of the graduate school about master's education in clinical nursing specialization. In 1953 she began development of a plan for a school of nursing building that was not realized until 1978 - twenty-five years later. In 1965 and again in 1973 a plan for a separate school of nursing building was included in projections for the medical center development. The long delay was attributed to uncertainties in federal funding during that time. The need for a separate building to house the School of Nursing had been earned by its growth within the university as well as by its regional and national reputation. The School had been listed in the Interim Classification of Schools of Nursing in Group I or the upper twenty-fifth of all schools studied.
Sister Mary Agnita Claire Day, S.S.M.
In 1956, Sister Mary Agnita Claire Day, S.S.M. succeeded Sister Susanne as Dean. Sister had developed the text book on Nursing Arts that was used during the early years of the school. Sister Agnita Claire also proposed the concept of homeostasis as a unifying approach to teaching the curriculum. The framework remained in effect until the early 1970's. During her tenure she focused on the structure of the school, graduate majors and the merging of the two undergraduate programs. The latter was not without some felt dissatisfaction on the part of students from both options. Time and understanding finally saw acceptance of that action.
Sister Mary Geraldine Kulleck
Sister Agnita Claire's tenure as dean ended in 1961 when Sister Geraldine again assumed the helm of the School of Nursing. Her second appointment ended with her retirement in 1966. At her retirement celebrations she was awarded the University's highest honor, the Fleur-de-Lis medal. The alumni of the School of Nursing and Health Services commissioned an artist to paint her portrait, and the faculty and staff arranged for the planting of a ghinko tree that would be an ongoing symbol to recognize her numerous accomplishments during her years of service to the School of Nursing.
Compiled by: Helen DiCroce, Associate Professor Emeritus, Saint Louis University School of Nursing