Thursday, May 19, 2022

Keynote speaker gives advice at nursing commencement ceremony

May 9, 2022
<p>College of Nursing Dean Leigh Small speaks at commencement. The College of Nursing held their commencement at the Wharton Center on May 7, 2022.</p>

College of Nursing Dean Leigh Small speaks at commencement. The College of Nursing held their commencement at the Wharton Center on May 7, 2022.

Photo by Sheldon Krause | The State News

The nursing commencement ceremony took place on Saturday, May 7 at 9 a.m. in the Wharton Center. There were a total of 84 graduates celebrated, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in nursing. 

Kicking off the ceremony was a welcome and opening remarks from Interim Dean Leigh Small. Small recognized the importance of a degree in nursing.

“These graduates are starting a career in one of the most essential and trusted healthcare professions as identified by Americans for the last 20 consecutive years,” Small said. “Nurses are with individuals during every critical rite of passage. In fact, everyone in this room has likely had an experience where expert nursing care was necessary for themselves or a loved one.”

Small also recognized the faculty who helped these students to achieve graduation.

“I would first like to recognize the extraordinary efforts made by our college faculty during the pandemic,” Small said. “Every semester offered unique challenges and a great deal of uncertainty. If I mentioned the word ‘flexibility’ one more time, they might groan.”

Kathleen Nowicki Schwartz, the founding member of the College of Nursing Board of Visitors, served as keynote speaker at the ceremony. She gave graduates a list of advice: show up, be of good character, practice lifelong learning, communicate, be nice, take risks, treat others well and find a balance between work and play.

“I’ve always felt that developing these kinds of advocate roles and relationships resulted in the most rewarding experiences for me as a nurse and as a person,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz encouraged the graduates to take her advice and the skills they learned in school to succeed in their careers.

“I hope you know that you have the knowledge, the preparation, the experience and the credentials to succeed in anything you may want to achieve in nursing,” Schwartz said. “So go out there and make all of your fellow alums proud. Don’t be a stranger. We can’t wait to hear about your accomplishments.”

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