Spring on the York College campus

The Nursing Program Celebrates 40 Years of Graduates

A black and white photo shows the graduating class of nursing students from 1981, all dressed in white nursing caps and uniforms.

With those first words of the Nursing Pledge, 54 students became York College’s first Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduates on May 16, 1981.

The program was nearly 10 years in the making (over 30, if you count the Pre-Nursing course of study offered by York Junior College in 1942). By late 1969, feasibility studies were undertaken and brainstorming about a collaborative program with York Hospital began. Throughout the early and mid-1970s, efforts continued to establish the BSN at York College. Archival records show the extent of this undertaking—securing grants through agencies like the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, recruiting qualified staff, and developing a curriculum. 

In the fall of 1978, the first students were accepted into the new four-year Nursing major. During those first four years of the program, the Student Nurses Association of York College of Pennsylvania (then S.N.A.Y.C.P., now S.N.A.P.) was formed, and student Dana (Brubaker) Cotton ’81 designed the official YCP nursing pin.

Since that first graduating class of 55 students in 1981 (54 in May, 1 in December), 3,753 have earned their BSNs from York College and over 90% have gone on to pass the National Council of Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN). This year, the Nursing Department celebrates 40 years of graduates and 40 years of excellence.

­— Karen Rice-Young ’92