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College of Nursing and Health Professions


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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 portrait is on display in 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

Dr. Anna Brock assumed the leadership role for the College of Nursing from 1992 until 1997. After returning to a faculty position in 1997 Dr. Brock provided several years of senior faculty knowledge and informal leadership in the college of nursing prior to her retirement.


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 at the end of June 2003.


Dr. Katherine Nugent

Dr. Katherine Nugent assumed the leadership role as Director of the Southern Miss School of Nursing in August of 2004. Under Dr. Nugent’s leadership, several programs were added including the PhD, DNP, and nurse anesthesia program. Dr. Nugent led the campaign to restore Southern Miss Nursing to a College of Nursing; something achieved on July 1, 2012. As Dean of the College of Nursing, she led the building project during design and construction of Asbury Hall. Dr. Nugent retired from the College of Nursing in June of 2017.     


Dr. Kathleen Masters


 Dr. Kathleen Masters assumed leadership as Dean of the Southern Miss College of Nursing in July of 2017. As a result of reorganization of the university, the College of Nursing became the College of Nursing and Health Professions in July of 2018. As Dean of the new college, Dr. Masters is providing leadership during the implementation of reorganization initiatives and support for the professions represented in the new college in order to meet the needs of the both the internal and external communities of interest.



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College of Nursing and Health Professions

Asbury Hall (AH)
3215 Montague Boulevard
Hattiesburg, MS 39401

Hattiesburg Campus 

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