School of Nursing Awards
Richard Olding Beard Award
The University of Minnesota School of Nursing's Richard Olding Beard Award recognizes a non-nurse whose foresight, wisdom and courageous advocacy for the nursing profession have led to better health care for all.
Richard Olding Beard, MC, established the first continuously operating nursing program founded in a university. Beard was a physician at the University of Minnesota in 1908 when he proposed the creation of the School for Nurses. The Board of Regents approved the plan and established the first nursing program founded in a university in the United States in 1909. Until this time, all training and preparation for nurses occurred in hospitals in an apprenticeship model and lacked education in sciences, liberal arts and the opportunity to practice skills outside of a live patient setting. Beard recognized the need for higher-level education for nurses and for women. His pioneering advocacy for lifting up the nursing profession was expressed in his writings and speeches in which he espoused the "educated spirit of the nurse."