NIU School of Nursing Celebrates 50th Anniversary

As alumni, former faculty, and friends gathered Oct. 17 in DeKalb, Ill., for the Northern Illinois University School of Nursing’s 50th anniversary celebration, NIU SON chair Brigid Lusk, RN, PhD, found herself trying to answer a similar question from many of the nearly 200 in attendance.

“I had a lot of people ask me, ‘Why did you wait 50 years?’ ” Lusk said.

Among those at the celebration were guests from 11 states, including as far away as California, the SON’s first black student, and 17 members of the Class of 1970, who used the celebration as a 39th-year reunion. They put together photos for a DVD that was used as part of a video presentation of photos throughout the years.

“There’s a special bond with a nursing program,” said Lusk, noting the way young people are required to go through the same experiences and difficulties together. “I think everyone welcomed the opportunity to share those memories.”

The celebration included a tour of the school’s headquarters, and guests were treated to a stop at the SON’s Human Patient Simulation Lab, which dazzled many alumni.

“We had the simulation lab going with all the bells and whistles, and a lot of the older graduates talked about how they were amazed at all of the [technologies] we have now,” Lusk said.

The day also included a dinner with a program presented by current and former faculty, and an evening of music and dancing. Alumni were seated at tables divided by decade.

“It was great fun,” Lusk said. “It was a chance for people to reconnect again. It was a lovely event.”

Tom Clegg is a member of the editorial team at Nursing Spectrum. Regional editor Barry Bottino contributed to this story.

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