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New Mexico's First College of Nursing

At the end of the 1940’s, New Mexico’s nurses, who came here from other states, were concerned that there weren't enough registered nurses to meet the state’s health care needs. In 1952, Edythe G. Barnes, a consultant from the Division of Nursing Resources, recommended that New Mexico should consider establishing a four-year degree program.

In the spring of 1955, with the help of Mary Jane Carter and Dr. Marion Fleck, the state legislature approved $60,000 in the University’s budget to establish the College of Nursing. This also marked the creation of the first Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program in New Mexico. In September of 1955 Dr. Eleanor King became the college’s first Dean, and two weeks later seventeen students registered for the four-year course; sixteen of them were from New Mexico.

The University of New Mexico awarded twelve BSN degrees to its first graduates in 1959 and by the end of that year the College received full accreditation from the Accrediting Service of the National League for Nursing. The College went on to develop the state’s first Advanced Practice Master of Science in Nursing and Doctorate of Philosophy in Nursing programs.

We’ve graduated thousands of students over the decades since we were established.  Today, over 1,000 students are enrolled across Bachelor’s, Master’s, and DNP and PhD programs following in the enduring traditions of the resolute and visionary nurses who shaped and influenced our vibrant history.