Image of a white nurse's cap from the 1940s.

Nurse’s Cap, 1963

Cloth and metal.
Transfer from the UofSC College of Nursing


A nursing student wore this nurse’s cap, which was presented to her before beginning her clinical training. While the cap indicated that a student had reached a certain level in her education, it also served a very functional purpose to keep hair tidy and offer a modest appearance.



Due to the increased demand for qualified nurses during World War II, in 1942 the University of South Carolina began offering coursework in nursing, as one of the university’s first initiatives geared toward women. It also offered the first Red Cross Nurses’ Aide Course in the United States. Of the initial 26 women enrolled, 19 completed the program.

National accreditation in 1957 brought the first professor and Dean of Nursing, Amy Viglione. After serving in the Navy, Viglione came to South Carolina, helping create the state’s first four-year baccalaureate nursing program.

Since its inception, the College of Nursing has increased its course and certification offerings to include master’s and PhD programs. In 2020, U.S. News & World Report ranked the online graduate nursing program first among the country’s public schools. With almost 93% of its undergraduate population being female, the college is still home for many phenomenal UofSC women.

To date, over 10,000 nurses have graduated, working now to improve healthcare locally, nationally, and globally. Many of these graduates have been working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response. 2015 alumna, Haley Griggs summarized the experience: “The UofSC program prepared me to be an excellent nurse. However, I don’t think anything could have prepared anyone for the pandemic.”




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