The University of Southern Mississippi College of Nursing was established in 1967, thanks to the visionary thinking of the diploma program faculty at the Mercy Hospital College of Nursing in Vicksburg, Mississippi. This courageous group led by Sister Mary Remegius (Elizabeth C. Harkins) responded to the American Nurses Association position statement (1965) that nursing education should be placed under the auspices of degree granting institutions. Dr. Harkins, the first dean of the School of Nursing, retired in December 1980 and maintained an office in the school as dean emeritus until her death in 1997. Her picture hangs in the lobby of the nursing building to remind faculty and students of her love of and dedication to the profession.
Dr. Jeri Laube Morgan
Dr. Jeri Laube Morgan succeeded Dean Harkins in 1980. Dr. Morgan came to the College of Nursing from Indiana. She served in the capacity of dean until her retirement in 1989. Under Dean Morgan's direction, the College of Nursing became well-known around the southern region as a program that produced graduates who were well prepared for the problems that result from a rapidly changing profession.
Dr. Joyce Bain
Dr. Joyce Bain succeeded Dean Morgan in 1989. Dr. Bain brought with her a strong background in business and administration. Under her capable leadership, the College of Nursing expanded in the number of programs it offered and the number of students it enrolled. Dr. Bain stepped down from her administrative position in 1992 but remained on faculty until her retirement in 1997.
Dr. Anna Brock (retired)
Dr. Anna Brock assumed the leadership role for the College of Nursing in 1992 until 1997. Dr. Brock returned to a faculty position in 1997 and currently provides senior faculty knowledge and skills for the school.
Dr. Gerry Cadenhead Fletcher
The College of Nursing became a college in 1997 and Dr. Gerry Cadenhead Fletcher assumed the role of leadership at that time. Dr. Cadenhead Fletcher has been a supporter of The University of Southern Mississippi for many years. She taught in the College of Nursing before spending several years working in service. She brought both business and professional experience to her leadership role. Dr. Cadenhead Fletcher believed that it is the primary role of a nursing program to be responsive to the needs of the nursing profession and the community it serves. Dr. Cadenhead Fletcher retired in June of 2001
Dr. Marie Farrell
Dr. Marie Farrell assumed the leadership role for the College of Nursing January 2002. On January 17, 2003, the President of the university announced that there would be a reorganization of the University from 9 colleges into 5. All deans were invited to apply for the remaining dean positions. Dr. Farrell chose not to apply and left the College of Nursing the end of June 2003.
Dr. Katherine Nugent
Dr. Katherine Nugent came to Southern Miss College of Nursing in August , 2004. For the previous 11 years she held administrative positions at the Medical College of Georgia.