NEW ORLEANS (September 28,2022)–Dillard University will celebrate the 80th anniversary of its nursing program on Saturday, Oct. 15 at the Marriott New Orleans Convention Center.
At the helm of the college is Dean Sharon Hutchinson, who initially worked with the nursing program from 1998-2006 and returned in 2014. Dr. Hutchinson, along with the nursing faculty, worked to overhaul the program in 2017-2018 and admitted the first cohort of the restructured program in 2019.
“It’s a humbling experience, actually, to be the head of a program that was established in 1942,” said Dr. Hutchinson. “It’s a very humbling experience. I stand on the shoulders of those who came before me.”
Dr. Hutchinson and her colleagues are making history of their own. The College of Nursing has announced the program has plans to offer a Master of Science in Nursing degree. The graduate level program will be the first of its kind in Dillard’s history.
“Nursing as a profession is committed to being caring and to excellence,” said Dr. Hutchinson. “So, Dillard is committed to that same caring and excellence.” The legacy behind the program is a treasured part of Dillard’s history, and the two have always been closely linked. Dr. Hutchinson’s goal with the program is to “continue producing caring, excellent nurses who are prepared to function beyond the walls of Dillard.” In the future, Dr. Hutchinson said she hopes to expand graduate education for all health-related majors and to inspire other programs to make similar changes.
Hutchinson has been a part of the Dillard family since 1998, so she has seen much of the program’s progression over the past two decades. Throughout that time, Hutchinson has developed a close bond with her fellow staff members and her many students. When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2006, Hutchinson, along with a few other professors, stayed with students affected by the storm in a shelter to make sure they graduated on time. Despite uncontrollable hardships, Hutchinson’s dedication to her students’ successes is highlighted in her actions throughout the years.
“The nursing majors should be proud to be here,” Dr. Hutchinson said. “Stay focused hard. You can achieve this goal.”