School of Nursing celebrates graduates at commencement ceremony
May 17, 2022
The University of Minnesota School of Nursing celebrated the graduation of 133 Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students, 128 Doctor of Nursing Practice students and five PhD in Nursing students at a commencement ceremony May 13.
Jeannine Rivet, MPH, BSN, RN, FAAN, retired executive vice president of UnitedHealth Group, delivered the commencement address, encouraging graduates to be true to themselves and create their own harmony. “If you want more love in the world, create more love in your heart. If you want more competence in your team, improve your competence,” said Rivet. “This relationship applies to everything, in all aspects of life. Life will give you back everything you have given to it.”
William Crain spoke on behalf of BSN students, noting the challenges that earning a degree during a pandemic presented. “Under normal circumstances, a BSN degree is far from an easy task. But on top of school, we stepped up to the plate and contributed to a strained health care system. Many of us served in the Medical Reserve Corps, community public clinics, and health care facilities as aides during the pandemic, something that was vital when the need for care was outpacing the number of available staff,” said Crain. “We talked openly about our ongoing and newfound mental health struggles and engaged in an important dialogue about the racial and class disparities in our imperfect health care system. Even when it felt unobtainable and overwhelming, we stayed focused and kept working to get to this very moment.”
Hannah Balder, BSN, RN, spoke on behalf of doctoral students. She spoke about change, transitions and giving grace. “You’ve all accepted and embraced change, just by taking the plunge to embark on and successfully complete this degree. Now let’s get to the fun part, celebrating your hard work and achievements. We did it,” she said.
University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel, JD, challenged the graduates to be bold and inspired. “My hope for you as you reflect back on the uniqueness of this time, that while we can acknowledge there were moments that were not fun, and that for many us actually resulted in suffering, that also you have had a gift of the uniqueness of your experience and that that has prepared you, without question, for a successfully professional journey, but hopefully also for what we in education called a life well lived,” said Gabel. “You’re prepared to be the next great generation. What you have endured has crystalized your strength.”
Dean Connie White Delaney, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI, FNAP, presented the graduates to Regent Mary Davenport, who conferred the degrees to the graduates.
“Despite the challenges that you, and we, see at this moment, the school and the health and wellbeing of our communities and our planet have never had a brighter future,” said Delaney.
BSN students participated in a Pinning Ceremony, which is a nursing tradition that dates 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. The School of Nursing pin features four symbols representing the four dimensions of higher education: the antique lamp represents the metaphysical sciences, the telescope represents the physical sciences, the plow represents the industrial arts and the artist’s palette represents the fine arts. Above and below the shield is the cross of St. George, which for centuries has stood for unselfish service.
“As our newest graduates, you represent both the future of nursing and the School of Nursing’s legacy,” said Laura Kirk, PhD, RN, representing the School of Nursing Alumni Society. “Graduates of the Class of 2022, you make us so proud.”