The School of Nursing held a combined hooding and pinning ceremony Saturday for the first time. Fifty-six Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduates received the school pin signifying the completion of their degrees and entry into the profession. At the same event, four graduates of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) received hoods that are part of the academic regalia they wear at Commencement.
Receiving their hoods from DNP faculty members and Associate Dean and Director of the Graduate Program Dr. Debi Morgan were Karen L. Gilbert, Rejoy Mathai, Phaedra L. Walker and Tempes Lee Wood. Gilbert was selected for the DNP Excellence Award, which goes to the most outstanding poster presentation.
Dr. Jeffrey Zellers, a graduate of the inaugural DNP class in 2017, was selected as the alumni speaker. Coming from a broken home, Zellers said that he had “been born into failure.” He spoke about this struggles over many years with depression, fear of failure and not knowing who he was. It wasn’t until 2008 when he met his wife, Jessica, and through a series of events the couple gave themselves to Christ.
“It wasn’t until then and even now that I realized that it isn’t the world that defines you,” he said, citing two verses from the Bible, 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Jeremiah 29:11.
“I speak to you today and share my story to provide encouragement so that you may know that all things are possible with God,” Zellers said. “As nurses you will see people in some of the toughest moments of their lives. I pray that He uses all of you to help build people physically and spiritually.”
Primose Lataillade was the student speaker. Her remarks garnered laughter and applause from her fellow students as she recounted their shared joys, challenges, fears and triumphs.
“Nursing school can be characterized by two words: sacrifice and persistency,” Lataillade said. Giving up sleep and time with family and friends were sacrifices that the students were willing to make to achieve their dreams of becoming nurses, she said. They persevered through running out of money, failing exams, having doubts, going through divorce or losing a family member.
“We could not have achieved this dream without God and the support of our University and our families,” Lataillade said, thanking first God, President Fleming, the dean, professors and staff of the School of Nursing.
“After this we will all go our separate directions,” she said, “but I know that our shared passion for nursing will bind us together.”
Associate Professor Dr. Lynn Erickson led the recitation of the Nurses’ Pledge, which is followed by the traditional lighting of the Florence Nightingale lamps. Provost and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Randy Richards offered the benediction.
Earlier in the ceremony, Dean Dr. Joanne Masella also recognized these award winners:
Outstanding Graduate ― Megan Smith
Dean’s Award ― McKenna Mangum
Lassiter Servant Leadership Award ― Alyssa Starkey
Lassiter Academic Award ― Malloree Adelsperger
Lassiter Community Service Award ― Kirstin Miller
Lassiter Clinical Excellence Award ― Primose Lataillade
Orlando Award ― Sabina Reed
Renshaw Award ― Jackie Leone