History

Founded in 1905 as the St. Vincent’s Hospital Training School for Nurses by the Daughters of Charity and known for decades as the School of Nursing, St. Vincent’s College has graduated generations of nurses and other allied health professionals.

The original hospital and school grounds, built on the Hawley Farm just above the last trolley stop, featured a beautiful rose garden as well as a large vegetable garden to help feed patients. During the early years of the school, student nurses lived in the hospital and worked incredibly long hours to meet the health needs of the growing industrial city. In 1915, a separate nursing residence was opened. By the end of the 1920’s there were still three sheep on the grounds.

Over the following decades the School’s curriculum incorporated learning about the steady stream of medical and technological developments. From early advances in Lab Science and Radiology to the latest computers, scanners and fiber optic scopes that have revolutionized medicine, St. Vincent’s College has prepared students for careers in healthcare and served as a resource for the entire community.

In the post-war years when life returned to normal, the School of Nursing formed the first of its associations with local colleges. The 1960’s brought many social and cultural changes, including new roles for women. Throughout the 70’s and 80’s the School expanded its academically based curriculum to keep pace with new advances in medicine.

In 1991, the School was officially incorporated as St. Vincent’s College, ushering in a new era of growth. Offering a wide range of educational programs to a diverse student population, St. Vincent’s College graduated more than 4,500 alumni who are contributing to the community as radiographers, cardiovascular technologists, medical assistants, nurses and other healthcare professionals.

St. Vincent’s College joined Sacred Heart University in July 2018, creating new opportunities in innovative healthcare education. St. Vincent’s College at Sacred Heart University offers students dynamic pathways to career-ready education in the evolving healthcare industry. With this commitment to educating tomorrow’s leaders in healthcare, St. Vincent’s College at Sacred Heart University nurtures a drive toward lifelong learning, professional development and spiritual and personal achievement.

Important Dates in the History of St. Vincent’s College at Sacred Heart University

1905: St. Vincent’s Hospital Training School for Nurses admits its first class.  A nation of immigrants builds its first hospitals and begins training nurses.


1908: The first Commencement is held at Loews Poli Theater in downtown Bridgeport on June 28, 1908.


1915: The first Nursing Residence was opened.  Prior to that time students lived and worked in the hospital.


1946: The School of Nursing Building, Nurses Homes and new auditorium in the beginning of the post-war years.


1949: 4th Annual Rose Garden Ceremony.


1950: Tuition in 1954 took a jump to $206.00 a year.


1956: During the 1950’s,  St. Vincent’s was listed among the leading nursing schools in the country with an enrollment of over 200.


1967: The 60’s would bring large social and cultural changes that challenged the traditional roles of women.


1971: Anelia Kerbelis, named first lay woman, Director of the School of Nursing.


1984: The School launched its innovated 23 month Nursing Program.


1992: Last graduating class of the Evening Division of the School of Nursing.


1993: President Anne T. Avallone and Governor Lowell Weicker sign an act authorizing the College to award Associate Degrees, completing the transition from School of Nursing to St. Vincent’s College. First Associate Degrees in Nursing awarded.


1997: First Associate Degrees in Radiography awarded.


1998: Continuing Education Office established for certificate programs.


2004: Dr. John K. Fisher installed as President, St. Vincent’s College.


2008: Dr. Martha K. Shouldis installed as President, St. Vincent’s College.


2013: First Bachelor Degrees awarded in both Nursing and Radiologic Sciences.


2018: St. Vincent’s College joins Sacred Heart University, establishing an innovative institution of healthcare education.