School of Nursing celebrates graduates at commencement
December 21, 2021
The University of Minnesota School of Nursing celebrated the graduation of students in the Master of Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice 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. 17 at Northrop.
University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel, JD, offered greetings to the graduates. “You know better than most the challenges the pandemic has posed on all of us over the recent months and you’ve chosen the profession when it was most needed,” said Gabel. “You’ve risen up to put the wellbeing of others above all else, exhibiting a collective spirit to confront not only societal but also historical challenges.”
Shonda Craft, PhD, LMFT, dean of the College of Health and Wellness Professions at St. Cloud State University, delivered the commencement address. She described the traits of great leaders, including developing authentic and reciprocal relationships, developing other leaders and cultivating an environment of self-care for themselves as well as others.
“Graduates, you are destined to do great things because you are great people,” said Craft. “Believe in your greatness, see the greatness in those around you, and be the leaders that we know you are ready to be.”
Tara Dillon, MA, spoke on behalf of Master of Nursing students, acknowledging that their educational experience may have looked and felt different than they had hoped, but that it prepared them to rise to the challenge. “In our practice, may we challenge and support individuals, families, communities and our planet to author stories of health and wellbeing,” said Dillon. “In the words of Dr. Carolyn Porta, the needs are great and so is our capacity to meet them.”
Julia Albrecht, BS, NBC-HWC, spoke on behalf of the Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing graduates, encouraging graduates to keep their hearts open and to go into nature when it feels like you’ve lost your way.
Dean Connie White Delaney, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI, FNAP, presented the graduates to Regent Ruth Johnson, MD, who conferred the degrees to the graduates. “You stand ready to improve health and wellness when we need it most,” said Delaney.
Johnson, who is a physician, said their efforts as nurses are more vital and important than ever before. “It is inspiring to witness this - your day - as you emerge from the University of Minnesota, prepared to provide excellent care at the bedside and knowledgeable leadership in health care,” said Johnson. “As a physician, I recognize that we stand shoulder to shoulder before each patient. We rely on your keen observation, your deep knowledge of the patient and your leadership at the bedside and in the office.”
Class of 2020 students who were unable to participate in in-person ceremonies were invited to participate in the December ceremony.
Cheryl Lanigan, BSN, 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 Lanigan. “As our newest graduates, you represent both the future of nursing and the School of Nursing’s legacy.”
Watch the Fall 2021 Commencement Ceremony.