Loewenberg School of Nursing
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School History

History of the Loewenberg School of Nursing

The Loewenberg School of Nursing has prepared outstanding nurse leaders, practitioners, clinicians, and educators for more than 40 years. Our vision is “to be recognized for excellence in nursing education, research and practice and noted for its comprehensive, innovative academic programs that are responsive to the health challenges of the global community.”

Our History


Nursing at the University began in 1967 as an independent department offering an associate degree in nursing. Ms. Peggy Norman was the first program director.


Initial accreditation was granted to the associate degree program in 1970 by the National League for Nursing (NLN) for eight years.



The Tennessee Higher Education Commission approved an RN-BSN program in 1977. The RN-BSN program was created to address the needs of the Memphis health care community.


Reaccreditation was granted to the associate degree program in 1978 by NLN for eight years.


The first RN-BSN students enrolled in the baccalaureate program in 1978, led by Ms. Lois Holloman, chair of the department of Nursing until her retirement in 1979.


Initial accreditation was granted to the RN-BSN and BSN programs in 1980 by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC) during Dr. Bonnie Duldt’s tenure as program chair, 1979 -1982.  Additionally, the associate degree program was phased out and transferred to Southwest Tennessee Community College. During the thirteen years of the associate degree program, the University graduated 1,244 associate degree nurses - an average of 95 graduates per year.


Ms. Joan Dodson led the nursing department from 1982 until 1984.


Following an NLN Board of Review recommendation, the nursing department was granted School status in 1984.


The School’s first Dean, Dr. Norma J. Long, was appointed in 1984 and served until retirement in 1990.


Reaccreditation was granted to the BSN program by NLNAC for eight years.


The Loewenberg family of Memphis endowed the Loewenberg Chair of Excellence in recognition of Mr. William A. and Mrs. Ruth Loewenberg support of Nursing in the community. In recognition of the Loewenberg family’s commitment to Nursing, the School name was changed to the Loewenberg School of Nursing (LSON).


The LSON admitted the first class of upper-division, generic baccalaureate students in 1989.


Dr. Marjorie F. Luttrell served as Interim Dean from 1990 until 1992, following Dr. Long’s retirement.


Dr. Lillian A. “Toni” Bargagliotti led LSON as Dean from 1992 until 2005.


The first class of LSON upper-division, generic baccalaureate students graduated in 1992.


Reaccreditation was granted to the BSN program by NLNAC for eight years.


The first dual-degree ASN/BSN program in the nation was designed and implemented in collaboration with Jackson State Community College in Jackson, TN.


Reaccreditation was granted to the BSN program by NLNAC for eight years, and initial accreditation from the Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) was granted for 10 years.


In June and July respectively, the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) approved the University’s Master of Nursing Science (MSN) program with three concentrations:  Family Nurse Practitioner, Nursing Administration, and Nursing Education. Initial approval from the Tennessee Board of Nursing followed in September.


The LSON was one of the six nursing programs in TN to implement the MSN online program via consortium.


Dr. Marjorie F. Luttrell was appointed Interim Dean in Fall 2005, and became Dean in June 2006.  Dr. Luttrell led LSON through a tremendous period of enrollment growth until retirement in 2010.


Initial accreditation was granted to the MSN program by CCNE in 2005. As part of the Tennessee Regents Online Degree Program (RODP), LSON also offered an MSN concentration in Nursing Informatics. 


The Executive MSN in Administration (E-MSN) was approved by TBR and enrolled its first cohort of students in Fall 2008.


Reaccreditation was granted to both the BSN and MSN programs by CCNE for 10 years (2010 – 2020).


Dr. Lin Zhan was appointed Dean of LSON.


The E-MSN celebrated its first cohort of graduates in Summer 2010.


The E-MSN program received a $788,000 grant from the United States Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to prepare future nurse executives.


A team of researchers, led by LSON Associate Dean and Director of Graduate Programs Dr. Robert A. Koch, received a $1.4 million grant from the United State Department of Defense to ensure effective interface between civilians and military personnel in the event of a catastrophe.


The LSON established a collaborative program with Jining Medical University in P. R China.


A five-year strategic plan was implemented to sustain quality higher education and advance faculty research and community partnerships.


The first “Executive Dialogue” among Memphis nurse leaders was held. Twenty nurse executives from across the city discussed strategies to respond to IOM Future of Nursing.


The LSON extended its BSN and RN-BSN program to the Jackson Lambuth campus, the first public BSN program in the area.


The LSON in collaboration with College of Communication and Fine Arts designed a health promotion public service program to Memphians via a radio station WUMR 91.7.


Dr. Sunghee H. Tak appointed holder of the William A and Ruth F. Loewenberg School of Nursing Chair of Excellence.


Ground breaking took place for the $60M new building after successfully raising $16.9M in private donations, matched by $45M in state support.


The Loewenberg Chair of Excellence received $320K funding in support of the in Alzheimer’s disease research.


The LSON signed a MOU with Nrupur Institute of Nursing and Research in India at the Lambuth Campus, Jackson, TN.


The LSON welcomed three nursing exchange students from Macau Kiang Wu College of Nursing.


The LSON was chosen as an Academic Partner of the Nurse Residency program for Regional One Health, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Methodist Le Bonheur Health Care.


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Loewenberg School of Nursing | 100 Billy Mac Jones | Memphis, TN 38152 | Phone: 901-678-2003 | Fax: 901-678-4906
Last Updated: 6/11/14