Our History & Tradition
The history of Oak Point is marked by leadership.
In 1911, a few physicians from the Chicago suburbs of Oak Park and Austin decided that their communities needed a hospital. Under the leadership of Dr. Charles E. Humiston, an Austin physician and president of the Illinois State Medical Society, a committee was formed, funds were raised, land was purchased, and the cornerstone for the West Suburban Hospital was laid on April 12, 1912.
The original hospital charter was very specific about the mission: “establish and maintain a hospital and dispensary for the care of the sick and injured, to provide educational facilities to medical students and to establish and maintain a training school for nurses.”
A training school for nurses was indeed established on February 17th, 1914 when the West Suburban Hospital School for Nurses opened its doors for the very first time. Like the hospital, the school for nurses grew steadily and by the twenties, more space was needed. In 1925, a new building was completed featuring state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories, living quarters and a large ballroom on the seventh floor.
The school’s reputation for excellence grew with each graduating class and in March, 1946, the institution entered into an affiliation with Wheaton College. The program, which had a strong missionary focus, attracted students from all over the United States, including daughters of missionary parents abroad. In the 1950s, over 50% of the missionary nurses serving across the United States and in foreign countries were graduates of West Suburban Hospital School for Nurses and the Wheaton program (the affiliation with Wheaton ended in the early 1980s).
In 1953 the name of the school was changed to the West Suburban Hospital School of Nursing. In 1985 the institution entered into another affiliation, this time with Concordia College (now Concordia University Chicago) in River Forest and the name was again changed to Concordia-West Suburban College of Nursing. The idea of a single-purpose degree-granting college of nursing was unheard of at the time. In fact this model was the first in Illinois and possibly second in the nation. The affiliation ended in 2003 and the name was again revised, this time to West Suburban College of Nursing.
In 2004, Resurrection healthcare (RHC) purchased West Suburban Medical Center and the College of Nursing along with the Westlake Medical Center in Melrose Park, Illinois. When RHC sold the two medical centers in 2010, the College of Nursing remained a part of the Resurrection healthcare system. In July 2010, the West Suburban College of Nursing was joined by the College of Allied Health (with the addition of the Health Informatics and Information Management program), forming Oak Point University.
In 2011, Resurrection healthcare (RHC) merged with Provena Health. Along with the founding congregations of the Sisters of the Resurrection, the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart and the Servants of the Holy Heart of Mary, Presence Health became the largest Catholic healthcare system in the state of Illinois.
The year 2013 marked the beginning of a new era for the University. After 98 years in Oak Park, Oak Point moved into a new home at Presence Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital in the heart of Chicago’s historic Wicker Park neighborhood. Instruction at the new facility began on January 7, 2013 and a formal ribbon cutting ceremony was held on March 13, 2013 with Bishop Alberto Rojas, Auxiliary Bishop Archdiocese of Chicago who blessed the campus.
In 2014, the University celebrated 100 years of educating students with a centennial celebration. In 2015, the University welcomed the Saint Francis School of Radiography into the College of Allied Health. The University is now proud to offer programs in Nursing, Health Informatics and Information Management, and Radiography.
On March 1, 2018, the affiliation between Oak Point University and Presence Health ended, and Presence Legacy Association became a member of Oak Point University.
Dr. Therese A. Scanlan is appointed President of Oak Point University by the Board of Directors.
The Saint Francis School of Radiography joined Oak Point specializing in the growing field of Radiography and Imaging Technology.
Oak Point University moves to the campus of Saint Elizabeth Medical Center in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago. Oak Point University now occupies parts of the first floor, which includes a new student lounge and library, as well as the entire sixth, seventh and eighth floors for classrooms, administration, an advanced simulation lab, faculty and staff offices.
Oak Point University and Concordia University Chicago reestablish the nursing degree program partnership originally started between West Suburban College of Nursing and Concordia College.
Resurrection healthcare and Provena Health join together to form Presence Health, the largest catholic health system in Illinois.
Dr. Beth A. Brooks is appointed President of Oak Point University. Dr. Brooks is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
On July 1, 2010, West Suburban College of Nursing becomes Oak Point University, with a College of Nursing and a College of Allied Health.
The Higher Learning Commission approved the baccalaureate degrees of health informatics and healthcare administration. Degree plans have been established to support transfer students from all surrounding colleges and universities.
The addition of the graduate nursing programs was approved by the Higher Learning Commission, a member of the North Central Association on December 18, 2005 and by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education on October 12, 2005.
Resurrection healthcare (RHC) purchases West Suburban Medical Center and the College of Nursing along with the Westlake Medical Center in Melrose Park, Illinois. West Suburban College of Nursing becomes part of Resurrection healthcare on March 10th.
The rich history of Oak Point includes a student choir that performed at University functions as well as public events. The choir “toured” during breaks and recorded a number of albums featuring original songs. Some of their songs even received airtime on local radio.