Sister Thomas, M.N. Ed., a member of the Order of St. Francis, was named the third dean of the college in 1949 and held the position until 1970. Before being dean, she was director of nursing service and personnel at St. Joseph’s Hospital. The Franciscan Sisters and St. Joseph’s Hospital provided resources and controlled revenue for the last two years of the nursing program even though the college was an academic unit of the university. Sister Thomas envisioned an end to hospital-based programs and proposed placing tuition and faculty payroll under university control. The National League for Nursing recommended that college become fiscally integrated with the university.
In 1955, the university assumed responsibility for paying senior nursing faculty and students began paying tuition for all four years. Sister Thomas worked to provide a new building for the College at 49th Street and Burleigh Avenue and secured $2.5 million in funding from the Franciscan Sisters. The building was dedicated in 1963 and served as home until 1982.
During Sister Thomas' deanship, the college received federal grants for programs in public health and nursing administration. The percentage of lay faculty increased. In early recognition of the potential for educational technology, Sister Thomas secured a grant for closed circuit television as a teaching aid. Upon completion of her deanship, Sister Thomas was elected to a term as provincial of the Order of St. Francis.