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Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing

College of Health Sciences

Nursing Deans

AmAmelia Leino, Founding Dean of the UWYO School of Nursingelia Leino, RN, BS, MDS, EdD

Founding Dean
University of Wyoming School of Nursing
1951-1968


Amelia Leino, a Wyoming native, having been born in Three Town, Wyoming, grew up in Hanna, Wyoming, and graduated from high school there where she was a star basketball player. After completing high school, Leino took a train to Chicago and enrolled in the nursing program at Cook County Hospital. After receiving her diploma in 1934, Leino became a teacher at Cook County Hospital. When the war broke out in 1942, Leino joined the US Army Nurse Corps. Immediately after the war, she started school at the University of Washington. After one semester there, she moved to New York and completed her bachelor's and master's degrees at Columbia University Teachers College. The head of the department of nursing at Columbia told Leino that the University of Wyoming was looking for a dean to establish a school of nursing. Leino was hired in 1951, becoming the first woman dean at the University of Wyoming. She later returned to Columbia to complete her Doctorate of Education, which was awarded in August 1955.

Leino developed the baccalaureate program of nursing at the university and was influential in the development of nursing education programs across the country. At one time, graduates of the program had the highest scores on the national licensing exam in the nation. She taught entering students, portrayed her military background to the students, and made an impression on students that was never forgotten.

Leino remained dean of the School of Nursing until 1968, at which time she retired. Her foresight led to the establishment of the Alpha Pi Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau at the University of Wyoming. She was a well-known speaker in Wyoming and Colorado and was one of the first six nurses designated as Western Council of Higher Education in Nursing emeriti. She died in 1985.


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