Nursing graduates encouraged to create connections, develop relationships

December 19, 2023

Fall Commencement 2023

The University of Minnesota School of Nursing celebrated the graduation of students in the Master of Nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice, and PhD programs and the Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing Master of Arts in Integrative Health and Wellbeing Coaching and Post-Baccalaureate Certificate programs at a commencement ceremony Dec. 15 at Northrop.

Caroline Njau, MBA, BSN, RN, NEA-BC, chief nursing officer and senior vice president of Patient Care Services at Children's Minnesota, delivered the commencement address, encouraging graduates to create connections and develop relationships. “Relationships are what make us thrive and what allow us to provide the best care,” she said. “The true joy of nursing comes from being able to hear someone say ‘Wow you are helping me get better, you are making a difference in my life. Because of you I am well and I am alive.’ That is success. And you will be able to do that every single day.”

Dean Connie White Delaney, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI, FNAP, told the graduates they are leaving prepared to serve. “You stand qualified and ready to improve health and wellness when we most need it – now,” she said. “The unique gifts that you - the Class of 2023 - brought to our University, and the world-class education and training you have received here, leave me in no doubt that the school – which is whole-person health focused – and the health and wellbeing of our communities and our planet have a bright future.”

Don Waldo, BS, spoke on behalf of Master of Nursing graduates, sharing gratitude for faculty, staff, friend and family. “Our training as nurses is to reflect on what we have been through – the support and friendships we all offered one another, the challenges, perseverance, and the success we shared. As meaningful as all of that is, let’s look towards the future,” he said. “Master of Nursing Class of 2023, thank you for the challenges you have yet to overcome, thank you for the leadership you have yet to provide. You are all leaders. The system will look to you to lead.”

Jennifer Reece, BA, spoke on behalf of the Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing graduates. “As integrative health and wellbeing coaches, we are uniquely poised to impact the spaces in which we will work and impact this developing field of health coaching in powerful ways.”

Regent Mary Turner, ASN, who is the first nurse to serve on the Board of Regents, conferred the degrees to the graduates.

Laura Kirk, PhD, RN, School of Nursing Alumni Society Board president, welcomed the newest alumni and explained the significance of the Pinning Ceremony, which is a nursing tradition that goes back more than 100 years where new nurses are presented with the school’s pin by faculty. It represents a symbolic welcoming of new graduates into the nursing profession.

“It is in this spirit of lifelong learning, recognition of your current achievements, and hope for many future contributions to the nursing profession that the School of Nursing Alumni Society is pleased to welcome you as our newest alumni,” said Kirk.

Watch the Fall 2023 Commencement Ceremony here.

Categories: School News


Media Contacts

Steve Rudolph
School of Nursing