Nursing students transition to healthcare professionals during 2019 Winter Commencement

On December 13, 2019, the newest graduates from the School of Nursing (SON) in Radford University’s Waldron College of Health and Human Services stepped enthusiastically into their new careers.

At the SON Pinning and Awards Ceremony held on the main campus in Bondurant Auditorium, 29 nurses joined their faculty, now colleagues, to recite the Nightingale Pledge and officially join the profession.

“This is a special day to honor our graduates and their parents, friends, loved ones and faculty, who have helped them on their way here,” said SON Interim Director Iris Mullins, Ph.D.

Kaitlyn Connor ’14 provided the keynote address during the SON Pinning Ceremony and welcomed her new colleagues to a field for which she felt destined.

“When you see how people react when they recognize your Radford nursing pin, you will see a special look, and you will be even more proud of your accomplishment,” Connor said. “We are so much more than we learned in school. We have special hearts. I encourage you to continue to ask questions, to be an advocate for your patients and to take time to know your patients. Learn their stories, and be there for them.” 

Pride and warmth filled the Bondurant Auditorium as over 200 parents and loved ones celebrated each candidate as they stepped on stage to formally affix the pin that is the traditional symbol of the nursing profession and dates back to Florence Nightingale, who is credited with beginning the professionalization of nursing.  

Savannah Beard, of Eagle Rock, Virginia, was the recipient of the SON’s Kitty Parker Smith Leadership Award and will join the neurology unit at Duke University Medical Center after graduation.

“I am a nurse now,” said a beaming Beard. “Today has been so memorable and is the result of so much hard work
Other recipients of SON awards were: 

  • Treasure Hockman – Janet Hardy Boettcher Nursing Excellence;
  • Noel Gebresenbet – Marcella J. Griggs Excellence in Geriatric Nursing Award;           
  • Allison Morrow – Mildred A. Hopkins RN Excellence in Nursing Award; and  
  • Justin McBride – Scholastic Excellence Award.

McBride, of Roanoke, Virginia, earned the Winter 2019 SON Scholastic Excellence Award by posting a 4.0 GPA during his four years at Radford and was pinned by his mother, Margaret.

“It is unbelievable to be here now,” said McBride, who will take a position on the Duke University Medical Center’s Cardiovascular and Thoracic Unit, “The main takeaways from my time at Radford are a deep compassion for my patients and a real sense of time management.”

An exultant Kayla Mims, of Roanoke, Virginia, will join Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital’s Surgical and Intensive Care Unit upon graduation. 

“Today is the highlight, the end of four demanding and challenging years with a lot of tears and laughs,” said Mims. “I am starting a career I was meant for and entering a whole new world.”

Maureen Shinault, of Radford, Virginia, was surrounded her children, one of whom had just arrived from California, and a medical doctor with whom she worked with and had inspired her.

“They are all so successful, and I hope I have made them proud of me too,” said Shinault as she wiped away a tear of both joy and relief.  

Dec 18, 2019
Don Bowman
(540) 831-5182