A TIMELINE: History of Graceland Nursing

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Horizons - Spring 2019

May 10, 2019

Oh, the nostalgia!


Sponsoring church Community of Christ (then RLDS) opens the Independence Sanitarium and Hospital (“the San”) less than 50 yards from where Graceland’s Independence campus currently resides.


The Independence Sanitarium and Hospital opens a school of nursing.


At the Community of Christ (then RLDS) World Conference, the church affirms its interest in extending the Graceland campus to Independence with the desire to provide a bachelor’s degree in nursing.


Nelle Morgan, director of the San’s diploma nursing program, receives a grant to fund an investigation in creating a bachelor’s degree, and Margaret McKevit is selected as project director for the study.


The Board of Trustees of the Independence Sanitarium and Hospital vote to make its clinical facilities available to Graceland.


Graceland president William T. Higdon announces the creation of a baccalaureate degree program in nursing. Students were to complete two years at the Lamoni campus, then pursue their last two years of technical and lab coursework at the Independence Sanitarium and Hospital.

Margaret McKevit becomes the first person to chair Graceland’s Division of Nursing.


Graceland’s nursing major attracts 70 students, as juniors first enroll in the baccalaureate program in Independence.


McKevit Manor is initiated as the residence hall “House” for nursing students in Independence.


Graceland’s Independence campus, now called the Independence Education Center, is moved from the San to 9900 E. Winner Road.


Graceland establishes a distance learning RN-BSN program, the first national accredited program of its kind.


Graceland’s Independence Education Center moves to the Central Professional Building at 221 W. Lexington on the Independence Square.


Sherri Kirkpatrick is promoted to vice president and dean of nursing becoming Graceland’s first vice president to be located on the Independence campus.


Graceland begins offering a Master of Science in Nursing degree, the first master’s degree Graceland offers.


Construction begins on Graceland’s permanent Independence campus location at 1401 W. Truman Road, Independence, MO.


Construction is completed on the Independence campus.


The Doctor of Nursing Practice program enrolls its first cohort.


Graceland adds a Master of Science in Nursing in adult gerontology and acute care nursing practice.

199 – The number of students who completed the diploma nursing program at the Independence Sanitarium and Hospital prior to the initiation of Graceland’s baccalaureate program.

Nurses enrolled in the school of nursing at the Independence Sanitarium and Hospital.






Associate Professor of Nursing Paula Cokington, RN, MSN, and students Joseph Carney `79 and Kathleen Frazier `80.





The Graceland Nursing Pin was designed by Iola Tordoff. The first 12 students received their nursing pins in May 1971.





Graceland’s Independence Education Center (IEC). Winner Road location.







Nursing students studying at IEC, 1980.






The Nurses Pinning Ceremony signifies the completion of academic requirements and the preparation for service in the profession. Kirkpatrick awards the nursing pin, 1996.







An architectural rendering showing the north elevation of the Independence campus. The contractor selected to oversee construction was J.E. Dunn of Kansas City. The estimated cost was $8.5 million, with funding from operations and a bonds issue.

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