COTC Celebrates 50 Years of Nursing Education

A black and white photo of nursing students on clinical rotation in the 1980s next to a colored photo of nursing students using the Anatomage virtual dissection table today.

Facing a critical nursing shortage, Licking Memorial Hospital’s Director of Nursing Ann Howard spearheaded the development of an eight-semester nursing program at the newly chartered Central Ohio Technical College (COTC). Under the guidance of Marilyn Tritt, dean of academic affairs, the plan was realized in the autumn of 1972 when the first nursing classes were offered at COTC to 60 full-time students and 20 pre-nursing students. Now, 50 years later, COTC has become synonymous with quality nursing education in central Ohio.

Today, COTC’s nursing program remains one of the college’s most popular among students and highly regarded among employers. The 6,509 nurses who have graduated from COTC have touched countless lives in our local communities through their care and expertise. This year, COTC is celebrating 50 years of providing nursing education through several initiatives that look back at our history and look forward to the next generation.

Open Houses

Current and future students, alumni, former and current faculty, healthcare partners, friends of the college, and the public are invited to a COTC Nursing 50th Anniversary Open House at each COTC campus.

Meet and mingle with our expert faculty, take a tour of our skilled nursing labs and see ongoing demonstrations of our leading-edge educational technology, including our Anatomage virtual dissection table. Refreshments will be served with nursing-themed giveaways, and free COTC alumni t-shirts will be sent to all alumni attendees.

Register at

The open houses will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at the following:

  • Coshocton campus on Tuesday, Oct. 18
  • Knox campus on Wednesday, Oct. 19
  • Pataskala campus on Thursday, Oct. 27
  • Newark campus on Friday, Oct. 28

Alumni Invited to Share Words of Wisdom

COTC nursing alumni are asked to share their “words of wisdom” with current nursing students. They may consider giving advice (e.g., something they wish they would have known their first year as a nurse) or encouragement (e.g., unexpected joys they’ve found in nursing). Alumni can participate by sending their words of wisdom to Laura Walsh at by Oct. 28, 2022. Submissions will be included in a booklet presented to graduates at each pinning ceremony this year.

Support Future Nurses

The Elizabeth Barnhart Award for Nursing Excellence was established in memory of Elizabeth Barnhart and supports graduating nursing students with career-related expenses. Barnhart, a 2015 COTC nursing alumna and registered nurse at Licking Memorial Hospital, was senselessly murdered by her husband in 2017. Her family established this award after her untimely death to honor her memory and pay tribute to her love of nursing.

The award and a $300 stipend are presented to one graduating student during each of COTC’s Newark campus nursing pinning ceremonies. The recipient is nominated by their peers and selected by the nursing faculty based on a combination of intelligence, commitment, sacrifice, integrity and a compassionate connection to others. It is the highest honor a COTC nursing graduate can receive. To date, 14 nursing grads have received this award.

With an additional $10,000 in contributions, this fund will be endowed, ensuring the Elizabeth Barnhart Award is awarded in perpetuity. All donations will help strengthen Barnhart’s legacy and support future nursing graduates. Tax-deductible gifts may be made online, by mail or over the phone.

  • Visit and select “Elizabeth Barnhart Award” from the designation drop-down menu.
  • Make checks payable to “COTC”, noting Elizabeth Barnhart Award in the memo line, and mail to the COTC Advancement Office at 1179 University Drive, Newark, OH 43055.
  • To make a credit card gift over the phone, please call 740.364.9514.

COTC Nursing Programs

COTC offers several pathways to a nursing career with two-year associate degrees and certificates that can be completed in as little as one semester or one year. Many nursing programs are available at COTC’s extended campuses.

Associate Degree Programs:

Upon completion, graduates receive an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing Technology and are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) to become registered nurses (RNs).

Practical Nursing One-Year Certificate

Upon completion, graduates are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN) to become licensed practical nurses (LPNs).

State Tested Nurse Aide (STNA) Certificate

Upon completion of this single course, graduates are eligible to take the state nurse aide test and be placed on the Ohio Nurse Aide Registry.

Get Started

Apply for free today at Contact the COTC admissions office at 740.366.9222 or email to schedule an appointment with an admissions representative.

COTC is a fully accredited, public college dedicated to providing high-quality, accessible programs of technical education in response to current and emerging employment needs. COTC has four campus locations: Newark, Coshocton, Knox and Pataskala.