As founder and director of the Adelphi College School of Nursing from 1942 to 1948, Mildred Montag, Ph.D., developed the nursing program and was recognized for her impact on nursing education in the United States and throughout the world.
The United States’ entry into World War II resulted in an urgent need for nurses. In January 1943, Dr. Montag was named director of the School of Nursing, the first program for nursing on Long Island. The first 25 students were admitted under the Nurse Training Act of 1943, also known as the Bolton Act. After completing the program, most of the students joined the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps.
Under Dr. Montag’s leadership, enrollment increased steadily. To accommodate the large number of students, Adelphi built Alumnae and Harvey Halls, two federally funded residence halls for women. Their opening in 1944 was marked with a ceremony attended by dignitaries including First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who delivered the address, “The Challenge of Nursing for Young Women Today.”
In 1948 Dr. Montag left Adelphi College to complete her doctoral studies at Columbia University Teachers College. Her doctoral dissertation, “The Education of Nursing Technicians,” was to influence profoundly the course of nursing education. Dr. Montag advocated the creation of an associate degree in nursing that would have a great impact on community college education for nursing.
Dr. Montag remained actively involved with Adelphi and received many honors. At the June 2000 Homecoming for the Class of 1930, she was remembered. In 2003 Dr. Montag was honored at the 60th anniversary of the Adelphi University School of Nursing and became the first member of the School of Nursing Hall of Fame. Her image is on the medal awarded to each honoree.
Initiating ADN Education
Associate degree education for nursing began as part of an experimental project at Teachers College, Columbia University, New York in the 1950s. In her doctoral dissertation, Dr. Montag proposed educating a technical nurse for two years to assist the professional nurse, whom she envisioned as having a baccalaureate degree.
Dr. Montag sought to alleviate a critical shortage of nurses by decreasing the length of the education process to two years and to provide a sound educational base for nursing instruction by placing the program in community and junior colleges. In 1958, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation funded the implementation of the project at seven pilot sites in four states.
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