La Plata, MD – The College of Southern Maryland’s (CSM) Spring 2023 commencement witnessed the celebration of 49 nursing graduates during a traditional pinning ceremony at the La Plata Campus. The event marked the transition of CSM faculty recognizing their students as peers and colleagues in nursing. The ceremony, held on June 26, was themed around a quote from Kobe Bryant: “Great things come from hard work and perseverance. No excuses.”

Linda Goodman, a professor of nursing, assumed the role of the mistress of ceremonies and extended a warm welcome to all attendees. She expressed gratitude to those present for their support in acknowledging the remarkable efforts and achievements of the nursing graduates. Goodman highlighted the significance of the pinning ceremony, which dates back to the 1860s when Florence Nightingale was honored for her exceptional service during the Crimean War. Nightingale, in turn, awarded medals of excellence to her brightest graduates, establishing the tradition of pinning new nursing graduates in the United States.

The students were individually called to the stage to receive their pins, presented by esteemed faculty pinners Lauren Guy, Dawn Leukhardt, Rose Miller, Kathleen Parsons, Annette Ragland, and Deborah Rutledge. Dr. Eden Kan played a pivotal role in presenting the candidates.

The featured speaker at the event was Jeanne Hill, an associate professor of nursing and a CSM alumna from the class of ’01. Reflecting on her pinning ceremony 22 years ago, Hill admired the experienced nurses she encountered. She emphasized the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity and encouraged the graduating students to prioritize their patients’ well-being. Hill assured them that their dedication and hard work would be rewarded with grateful patients at the end of each day. She concluded her address by proclaiming her unwavering support and belief in the graduates, stating, “I will forever be in your corner, cheering you on.”

Ella Videga, a graduating student who also received the department’s “Achievement in Nursing” award, delivered a speech on behalf of the class. Videga spoke about the profound bonds that formed among the nursing students and the unwavering support they received from the faculty while overcoming obstacles. She urged her classmates to continue their professional growth, highlighting the role of nurses as advocates, educators, and innovators. Videga inspired her peers to strive for excellence, uplift and support one another, and positively impact the lives of their patients and communities. “We have the power to change the world, one patient at a time,” she passionately exclaimed.

The closing remarks were given by Robin Young, a professor of nursing, who echoed the theme of perseverance. Young encouraged the graduates to approach their nursing careers with a positive attitude and unwavering energy, reminding them that challenges would inevitably arise. She stressed the importance of giving their best effort and maintaining perseverance throughout their careers, emphasizing the profound impact they can have on the world as nurses.

The pinning ceremony concluded with the proud graduates receiving their pins. The nursing graduates who received their pins are Susana Adhikari, Sallie Baldus, Larissa Battle, Casey Alexander Becraft, Jessica A. Brack, Lindsay Bradburn, Cayla Bromwell, Genesis Burch, Kathleen B. Burch, Hannah Callander, Bernice Cao, Stacey R. Chayka, Samantha G. Clark, Christy M. Collins, Valerie Corbin, Alexandra Delcher, Madisyn J. Dull, Courtney M. Edelen, Gabrielle B. Fleming, Yuko K. Garrett, Jessica Starr Gavin, Becca Pearl Hall, Madison Harris*, Alyssa Harry, Regan Kate Healey, Janay M. Hicks, Mya Hollenczer, Jenna Anne Kidd, Francois David Mallari, Angelique Martinez, Sara McCullough, Taylor Mosterd, Candace Neeb, Nyesha Denai Newby, Brianna Danielle Oberg, Shirley C. Onyeukwu, Breana Pearsall, Jennifer C. Rhodes, Katlyn Nicole Riley, Isabelle Dominique V. Sanchez, Mary-Katelynn R. Smith, Michele Smith, Jill Swanson, Susan Thiongo, Ella J. Videgla**, Ada Weems, April R. Wheaton, Marie A. Williams, Courtney L. Wilson.

Among the graduates, Madison Harris was also honored with the “Academic Achievement in Nursing” award, while Ella J. Videgla received the “Achievement in Nursing” award.

The pinning ceremony at CSM’s La Plata Campus was a remarkable milestone for the 49 nursing graduates of the Spring 2023 class. As they transitioned from students to colleagues, the event celebrated their hard work, perseverance, and dedication to nursing. The powerful words of encouragement from faculty members and the selection of Kobe Bryant’s quote as the event’s theme resonated with the graduates, inspiring them to make a positive impact in the lives of their future patients and communities.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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