Our Story

Our History

1869: Bishop Clarkson Memorial Hospital Established

The institution known today as Clarkson College began as a dream of Bishop Robert H. Clarkson in the late 1800s. Bishop Clarkson wanted to see the establishment of a first-rate nursing school in Omaha, and the realization of his dream began in 1869 with the opening of Omaha’s Good Samaritan Hospital. Seven months after its opening, the hospital was transferred to Bishop Clarkson.


1884: Bishop Clarkson's Vision Lives On

Bishop Robert H. Clarkson died of pneumonia at his home at the age of 58 on March 10, 1884. His wife, Meliora, worked to complete his vision by establishing a training school for nurses.


1888: Bishop Clarkson Memorial School of Nursing Established

In 1888, the hospital organized the first training school for nurses in Nebraska, the Bishop Clarkson Memorial School of Nursing.


1890: First Graduating Class

The school graduated its first nursing class—a mere two graduates—in 1890.


1902: Three-year Program Offered

As the school grew in enrollment, its offerings grew as well. Having started with a two-year diploma program, the Clarkson School of Nursing began offering a three-year program in 1902.


1910: Alumni Association Established

The Bishop Clarkson Memorial Hospital School of Nursing drafted a constitution and by-laws to establish an official, operating Alumni Association.


1917: Nursing Graduates Serve in WWI

Enrollment continued to grow, and in 1917, when the first 10 Nebraska Red Cross Nurses were sent to France for service in World War I, half of them were Clarkson School of Nursing graduates.


1936: School of Nursing Transferred

In 1936, Bishop Clarkson Memorial School of Nursing moved to new facilities at 26th and Dewey Streets, with students housed in several homes nearby. That move was followed by the building of a new dormitory across the street from the Bishop Clarkson Memorial Hospital. During that time, the school actively participated in the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps program.


1955: Cessation

Challenges loomed in the 1950s, as budget problems forced the Bishop Clarkson Memorial School of Nursing to close in 1955.


1960: Reopening & Relocation

The Bishop Clarkson Memorial Hospital School of Nursing reopened its doors to 50 students in a new building on Sept. 12, 1960. Mr. and Mrs. Peter Kiewit were the primary benefactors behind the construction of the new training school.


1966: Nurses Aid in Vietnam War

Clarkson College Nursing graduates were once again helping America in its outreach to the world. In 1966, 11 graduates traveled to Vietnam as part of an 11-month tour.


1981: Coordinating Commission Approves Degree-Granting Program

The Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Post-Secondary Education approved a petition that advanced Bishop Clarkson School of Nursing to a college of nursing offering a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.


1987: First President

Dr. Patricia Book Perry fostered a promising future for the Bishop Clarkson College when she was appointed president in 1987. Dr. Perry’s previous affiliations with the College include:

  • Graduate, Bishop Clarkson Memorial School of Nursing, class of 1945
  • Assistant Director, Bishop Clarkson Memorial Hospital School of Nursing

1987: Board of Directors Established

The first Bishop Clarkson College Board of Directors was approved and appointed in 1987.


1988: Baccalaureate Nursing Program Gains National Accreditation

In 1988, Clarkson College received full eight-year accreditation from the National League for Nursing (NLN).


Early 1990s: Academic Offerings Broaden

National accreditation for the College was followed in the 1990s by a major expansion of academic offerings, including the introduction of online education and degree programs in the areas of Radiologic Technology, Physical Therapist Assistant and Health Care Business.


1998: Breakthrough in Online Education

A learning management system made it possible for students to complete their courses from a distance.


2000: Minority in Nursing Scholarship Program

As a new millennium dawned, Clarkson College developed the Gateway to Success Minority Nursing Scholarship, facilitating greater opportunities for a more diverse student population—and creating the need for more upgrades to facilities.


2004: Student Center & Residence Hall

In 2004 the College opened a two-story Student Center encompassed with a Bookstore, community hall, and student resources facility. Connected to the Student Center is an apartment-style, 140-bed Residence Hall. The Clarkson Service League Heritage Garden and courtyard inhabit the space between the student facilities and the main College building.


2011: Simulation Lab

The College added a state-of-the-art simulation lab, equipped with simulated adult and infant patients (mannikins) that display conditions ranging from stagnant to high-fidelity.


2013: Caring for 125 Years

Clarkson College celebrated our 125th anniversary of preparing students to professionally provide high quality, ethical and compassionate health care services.