Dorthy P. Smith ~ First Dean of the College of Nursing

Dorothy P. Smith, Dean from 1967 to 1982. Dr. Smith was the first Dean of the College of Nursing.

At the opening convocation of the 1968-69 academic year President Albert G. Huegli proclaimed the official opening of the College of Nursing. That proclamation marked the culmination of the vision and labors of many members and supporters of Valparaiso University who recognized the harmony of professional nursing education with the University's goals.

The first administrator of the College, Dorothy Paulsen Smith, Ph.D., assumed the deanship in the fall of 1967, before the college was a reality, and served as dean for 15 years. Sharing the University's goal of providing the highest level of nursing education, Dean Smith helped to bring the College of Nursing into existence.

The College of Nursing opened in the fall of 1968 with an enrollment of 55 freshmen and a new freshman class was added each year. In the spring of 1972, the first class was graduated with a B.S.N. In the interim the College moved into its newly constructed building, LeBien Hall.

Freda Scales

Freda Scales Dean from 1982 to 2000.

The Bachelors program in nursing (B.S.N.) was initially accredited by the Indiana State Board of Nurses' Registration and Nursing Education in 1969, and by the National League for Nursing in 1974. The master's program graduated its first class in 1991 under the leadership of Freda Scales who served as dean from 1982 - 2000. The master's program in nursing (MSN) was accredited by the National League for Nursing in 1993. The College instituted a Post-Masters Family Nurse Practitioner program in 1994. Both the graduate and undergraduate programs were accredited by the Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education in 2000.

Janet Brown was named Dean of the College of Nursing in July 2000.

The first class was admitted to the Post-Masters Doctorate in Nursing Practice option in fall 2008 and the BSN to DNP curriculum was offered for the first time in the fall of 2009.  In May 2010, 10 graduates received a DNP degree.

The Bachelor of Science in Health Care Leadership degree was developed in 2011 in response to the need for dynamic health care leaders.

Throughout its history the College of Nursing has maintained high academic and professional standards that guide its ongoing response to the changing educational requirements in health care. It has translated the trust of the founders of the College into a quest for excellence that has resulted in wide respect for the college and for the ability of its graduates.

La Bien Hall

Le Bien Hall - College of Nursing and Health Professions


The College of Nursing and Health Professions prepares critically inquiring, competent professional nurses and advanced practice nurses who embrace truth and learning and who respect Christian values while promoting health for persons in dynamic health care environments. As an integral part of Valparaiso University, the College of Nursing shares the University's mission. Graduates are not only competent professionals, but also are responsible citizens who reflect the spirit of the University's Lutheran heritage and Christian tradition in their quests for excellence.


Valparaiso University provides community-based nursing education. Learning opportunities immerse students in a rapidly changing health care environment where they gain an appreciation for the factors that influence health. Utilizing critical thinking, nursing students promote the health of persons where they live, work, play, and worship. The College of Nursing and Health Professions and community partners engage in ongoing collaborative relationships, building on the needs and capacities of both entities to positively impact the community. The philosophy of the College of Nursing and Health Professions incorporates the concepts of person, environment, health, and nursing.

BSN Objectives

  1. Enter the profession as a critically inquiring competent professional nurse who uses the processes of critical thinking, communication, change, and lifelong learning.
  2. Engage in the role of components of provider of care, teacher, manager, and research consumer wherever persons live, work, play, and/or worship.
  3. Appreciate how the environmental influences of culture, economics, ethics, law, policy, politics, society, and technology impact a person's health.
  4. Promote the health of persons in dynamic health care environments using primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention strategies.