A collage of Georgetown yearbook photographs of Margaret Hayes Jordan, Brenda Kennedy Lockley, Bernardine Mays Lacey, and Priscilla Lee Rogers.
News Story

Celebrating the First GU African American Nursing School Graduates During Black History Month 2021

February 3, 2021 – An oral history project is ensuring that the memories and voices of the first African American women to graduate from the School of Nursing – between 1964-1969 – are elevated and become a part of Georgetown University’s historical record.

Assistant Dean Brian Floyd and Dr. Edilma L. Yearwood, chair of the Department of Professional Nursing Practice, continue their work on this project, which features Margaret (Hayes) Jordan (BSN 1964), Brenda (Kennedy) Lockley (BSN 1965), Dr. Bernardine (Mays) Lacey (BSN 1969), and Priscilla (Lee) Rogers (BSN 1969).

(Yearbook photos courtesy Georgetown University Archives, story by Brian Floyd and Bill Cessato)

Margaret (Hayes) Jordan – 1964

A yearbook photo of Margaret Hayes Jordan

In 1964, Margaret (Hayes) Jordan made Georgetown history, becoming the first African American student to graduate with the BSN from the School of Nursing. Jordan, who had attended segregated schools until high school, was admitted to Georgetown in 1960. She later received an MPH and served for more than two decades as a health care executive. A scholarship for GU nursing students is named in Jordan’s honor.

Brenda (Kennedy) Lockley – 1965

A yearbook photo of Brenda Kennedy Lockley

Brenda (Kennedy) Lockley, a native Washingtonian, attended segregated schools until she enrolled in the School of Nursing in 1961. When she received her bachelor’s degree from Georgetown in 1965, she became the second African American woman to graduate with the BSN. For three years, she served on active duty as a nurse in the United States Navy Reserve. 

Dr. Bernardine (Mays) Lacey – 1969

A yearbook photo of Dr. Bernardine Mays Lacey

A Living Legend of the American Academy of Nursing, Dr. Bernardine (Mays) Lacey received the nursing diploma at Gilfoy School of Nursing at Mississippi Baptist Hospital in 1962. Upon moving to Washington to work at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, she applied to Georgetown’s RN-to-BSN program, which she completed between 1967-1969. Lacey was founding dean of the Western Michigan University Bronson School of Nursing. (Visit a recent American Journal of Nursing article featuring Lacey.)

Priscilla (Lee) Rogers – 1969

A yearbook photo of Priscilla Lee Rogers

Priscilla (Lee) Rogers, who was raised in Washington, graduated from the four-year BSN Program in 1969. Before Georgetown, she had attended segregated schools. For more than 25 years after receiving her degree, she worked at the Veterans Hospital in the District of Columbia in various nursing positions.

Nursing History
Racial Justice