Caldwell, N.J., Dec. 15, 2020 – Caldwell University celebrated second degree graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program on Dec. 11 with a virtual nursing convocation and pinning ceremony. The new nurses completed their BSN degrees in 18 months.
As family and friends gathered around their devices to celebrate their loved ones’ milestones, Dr. Donna Naturale, associate dean of the School of Nursing and Public Health, acknowledged the year of “loss and change” due to COVID-19 during which educators adapted their teaching formats but students “never lost the time or the opportunity to learn from their faculty.”
Caldwell President Matthew Whelan said the new nurses are entering the profession at a time when they are probably needed the most. Calling nurses “hope-givers,” Dr. Whelan encouraged the graduates to “go forward with the knowledge that you are well trained.” He told the graduates that he hopes they receive the fortitude they need to persevere and that they always “hear the music of appreciation of a grateful society.”
Dr. Kathleen Ann Kelley, director of undergraduate nursing education, presented the candidates and led them in the professional nursing pledge.
Several of the graduates were pinned by family or friends in their homes or other locations while their classmates and professors watched online. The pin includes a nightingale lamp, a symbol of care and comfort to the sick and suffering; a cross representing Caldwell’s Dominican commitment and Judeo-Christian tradition, and laurel leaves encircling the pin, which symbolize success, peace and life.
Dr. Ellina Chernobilsky, acting vice president for academic affairs, said the ceremony is a rite of passage symbolizing the graduates’ “first, among many, achievements in their professional journey” and their readiness to care for humanity as professionals. She encouraged them to remember the faculty, the staff and classmates in the Caldwell University nursing program when they wear the pin.
Graduate Amanda Bove gave the valedictorian speech and thanked the nursing professors for challenging and inspiring the students. “You constantly gave us the courage and drive to excel as students and as nurses,” she said, adding that the program was one of the hardest yet most rewarding experiences of her life. “Getting to this moment through a pandemic is something to be extremely proud of.” Salutatorian Krista Roszkowski told her classmates that as nurses, they can’t take the easy way out when caring for their patients. “We see them at their worst and do everything we can to get them back to their best. In order to do this, we must try to excel in every task we perform as nurses no matter how simple we think it might be. Even the smallest actions can make a huge difference in someone’s life.”
The processional music was provided by Dr. Nan Childress-Orchard, DMA, professor of music, who played “Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming” and “Il est n’e, le divin Enfant.”
The prayer and the blessing of the pins were led by Colleen O’Brien, director of campus ministry.