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.
After Bishop Clarkson’s passing in 1884, his wife Meliora worked to complete his vision by establishing a training school for nurses, and the hospital became home to the Bishop Clarkson Memorial School of Nursing. The school graduated its first nursing class—a mere two graduates—in 1890.
As the school grew in enrollment, its offerings grew as well. Having started with only two-year programs, the Clarkson School of Nursing began offering three-year programs in 1902.
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.
In 1936, the school moved to new facilities at 26th and Dewey Streets, with students housed in several homes nearby. That move was followed during World War II by the building of a new dormitory built across the street from the hospital. During that time, the school actively participated in the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps program. After the war, the school moved to its present location at 42nd and Dodge Streets.
Challenges loomed in the 1950s, as budget problems forced the nurses’ program to close in 1955. It proved to be a bump in the road, as a generous donation from Mr. and Mrs. Peter Kiewit made it possible for the program to re-open in 1960.
Soon, 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.
Change and progress soon accelerated, as Clarkson College admitted its first male student in 1969, and male enrollment grew steadily throughout the 1970s.
During the 1980s, major accreditation came to Clarkson from leading bodies including the North Central Association and the National League for Nursing. This was followed in the 1990s by a major expansion of the programs offered at the College, including online education, Radiologic Technology, Physical Therapist Assistant and Health Care Business.
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.
In 2004, the College opened its new Student Village campus, with first-rate residence hall facilities and a courtyard right across from The Nebraska Medical Center and Clarkson College academic facilities.
Today, Clarkson College continues its longstanding tradition of preparing its students to be the best—starting them on the path to fulfilling and rewarding careers in the field of health care. We look forward to carrying on this tradition for many years to come.