In June 1959, the North Carolina General Assembly authorized the establishment of a School of Nursing at East Carolina College and appropriated funds for its support. Thus, the East Carolina College School of Nursing became the fourth state supported baccalaureate program in nursing in North Carolina and also the first academic school on this campus. In March 1961, the program was provisionally approved by the North Carolina Board of Nurse Registration and Nursing Education (now the North Carolina Board of Nursing) and the school became an agency member of the National League for Nursing, Baccalaureate and Higher Degree Programs. In June 1964, the first Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees were conferred on seventeen graduating seniors.
Prior to completion of the nursing building in 1967, the school was housed in four different buildings. During the summer of 1960, the Dean's office was located in the Administration Building. In September, she and the newly appointed faculty and the secretary moved into two adjoining offices in Rawl Building. One year later, the School was moved to Graham Building where the Dean and secretary shared a small office, one classroom was converted into unpartitioned office space for the ten faculty members, and another classroom was equipped with student desks, beds, and other equipment necessary for laboratory learning experiences. Additional classroom space was assigned in other buildings as needed. In 1963, to more adequately meet the needs of the growing school, it was moved into an eight-room residence on the western edge of campus. The four rooms on the first floor were converted into administrative offices and a small conference/classroom; faculty shared the four second-floor rooms. In September 1967, the school moved into its first permanent home--the newly constructed Nursing Building.
Owing to growth of our programs and enrollment, ECU changed the name to the College of Nursing in 2007. This change mirrors the organization structure in other ECU units. In spring 2001, approval was received from the UNC Board of Governors to begin a PhD program in nursing. The first students were admitted in fall 2002 and the first doctoral degree was conferred in May 2005. Approval was recently granted for the College of Nursing to offer the PhD in a BSN to PhD format.