Oral Roberts University is founded on a concept of education for the whole person--aiming at excellence in spirit, mind, and body. Within the context of wholeness and healing, it was inevitable that these concepts should find expression in nursing as another means for extending the ministry of Oral Roberts University into every person's world. In keeping with this vision, President Oral Roberts, in the fall of 1972, requested that plans be undertaken to establish a baccalaureate program in nursing at Oral Roberts University.

Under the leadership of Inga Tomine Tjelta, Ph.D., RN, Founding Dean, the nursing program admitted its first students to upper-division nursing in the fall of 1975. The first class of 19 students graduated in May 1977 from a fully state-approved and nationally accredited baccalaureate program in nursing

On April 27, 1977, the School was officially named the Oral Roberts University Anna Vaughn College of Nursing in honor of Anna Vaughn Benz, a dedicated supporter of the University and a friend of the College of Nursing.

anna vaughnDedicated Supporter

Anna Vaughn Benz: A most dedicated giver and friend of ORU. She loved the College of Nursing and the students. During her lifetime she attended the nursing pinning and hooding ceremonies and set up a scholarship fund for nursing students. Many of our graduates were able to complete their undergraduate and graduate degrees due to the generosity of Mrs. Benz.

College of Nursing inga tomineFounder

Dr. Tjelta received her primary education in nursing from the Swedish Hospital College of Nursing in Minneapolis. She continued her formal education at the University of Washington where she received a B.S.N,. M.A. in nursing and Ph.D. in education with a minor in nursing. Her studies focused on counseling, teaching, and curriculum.

Because of her professional expertise in curriculum and teaching, Dr. Tjelta served as a consultant to numerous nursing schools, developing curriculum for baccalaureate and master's programs.

She felt called of God to facilitate the development of a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing at the College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph, Minnesota. She developed an excellent program that received full accreditation from the National League for Nursing (NLN).

When Oral Roberts University offered her the opportunity to found an undergraduate school of nursing, she prayerfully considered and accepted the challenge. The ORU B.S.N. program received full accreditation from the NLN and the Oklahoma Board of Nursing, and graduated its first class in 1977. Dr. Tjelta was the dean from 1974-1985.

She was grateful to God for the opportunity to use her nursing talents in so many places, and especially in founding a school of nursing that has a philosophy she firmly believed in -- one that fosters the concepts of developing the whole person -- body, mind, and spirit.

Dr. Tjelta is listed in Who's Who of American Women and the National Register of Prominent Americans.