SBUBolivar, Missouri Est. 1878

SBU College of Nursing and Health Sciences

History of the SBU-Springfield Campus

In the early 1980s, SBU and Mercy Health Center contracted for a feasibility study of a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) completion program.  The study showed a need for such a program in Springfield, offered in a Christian environment.

In 1984, SBU began offering college-credit courses in Springfield.  Classes met at the School of Nursing facility but moved after one semester to South Haven Baptist Church.

By 1988, enrollment had increased from 13 original students to over 200.  Students were taking not only courses toward the BSN completion but also prerequisites for nursing school and business courses.  With the increase in students, SBU-Springfield moved to the American Red Cross building on South Glenstone in December 1988.  A Bachelor of Applied Science degree in human services was added to the programs offered in Springfield. 

In May of 1996, SBU-Springfield culminated a long working relationship with Mercy now Mercy.  The Springfield Center joined with St. John’s School of Nursing and moved to the current South Fremont location.  The campus is now Mercy College of Nursing and Health Sciences with an enrollment of about 550-650 students per semester.

History of Mercy and Mercy College of Nursing

In 1891, at the request of Dr. Jonathan E. Tefft, three Religious Sisters of Mercy from St. Louis established Springfield’s first hospital.  Housed in a small brick home, the first St. John’s Hospital had four patient rooms.  The Sisters lacked medical equipment and often walked many miles to care for patients who were too ill to come to the hospital. At the turn of the century, planning began to address the need for additional staff and a larger, better-equipped hospital.  In 1905, a new St. John’s Hospital and nursing school opened its doors. St. John’s continued to grow and expand during the time from 1905-1950.  In 1952, a new, 250 bed hospital was built becoming the campus for the present day St. John’s Hospital (Mercy).

In the four decades that followed, Springfield became a regional center for health care and the numbers of physicians and physician specialists have continued to increase.  St. John’s has progressed with additions to the hospital as well as expansion of the original campus and surrounding buildings. In 2011, St. John’s as a provider to over 100 communities in seven states announced a corporate name change to Mercy. St. John’s School of Nursing, SBU announced their name change to Mercy College of Nursing, SBU in June 2012.  

In 1989, the building on the hospital campus that housed the St. John’s School of Nursing was destroyed in order to accommodate hospital expansion.  A new School of Nursing was built three miles south of the hospital and this structure continues today as the educational facility for the nursing program.  This facility has space for classrooms, library, science and nursing labs, faculty offices and administration. Apartments or other living facilities were not planned with the new building because the nursing students had not utilized such living space in the previous building for 6-8 years.  The students were older and preferred to live in their own home or in apartments in the city or surrounding area.

History of SBU Bolivar
History of Mercy Hospital