Lander University’s Abney Cultural Center Auditorium was filled to capacity on Tuesday, May 2, for the William Preston Turner School of Nursing’s annual recognition ceremony.
A total of 54 graduating seniors received their nursing pins, marking their transition from students to professional nurses.
“This is a special event for us as we recognize the accomplishments of our graduates and celebrate the opportunities open to them as they begin their nursing careers,” said Dean Dr. Holisa Wharton. “Tomorrow is commencement, a milestone for each of these graduates, but today we celebrate nursing.”
Senior class representative Ce’Andra Bouknight, of Winnsboro, who spoke at the event, said that “nursing education is not for the faint of heart. It requires commitment and perseverance. But we were strong enough to push through to get where we are here in this moment.”
She expressed the hope that she and her fellow graduates would “keep the things we’ve learned here in mind as we advance our careers. Let us continue to uphold the principles of kindness, empathy and excellence that we have developed while in this program,and let’s continue to encourage one another and develop both as individuals and as professionals.”
Other highlights of the ceremony included a candle lighting commemorating Florence Nightingale as the “lady with the lamp,” recitation of the Nightingale Pledge, and induction of new members into Sigma Theta Tau, the international honor society for nurses.
Seven graduates were singled out for special recognition.
Kylan Corbett, of Lugoff, received the Faculty Award of Excellence, given to the student who demonstrates the greatest promise of making significant contributions to the profession of nursing. Corbett also received the Prelicensure Nursing Discipline Award, given to the graduating senior with the highest cumulative grade point average.
MacKenzie Calcutt, of Columbia, received the Clinical Excellence Award, given to the student who demonstrates outstanding clinical practice in any clinical setting.
The Professional Nursing Award, which recognizes a student who represents leadership qualities in the practice of professional nursing, was conferred upon Kaitlyn Charping, of Starr.
The winner of the Professional Development Award, given to a student who has demonstrated substantial professional growth and development, was Evana Brimfield, of Lexington.
The Neuman Award, given to the student who has shown the most holistic approach to client care, went to Ivonne Barbe, of Laurens.
The Nursing Athletic Award honors NAIA Hall of Fame athletic director and college coach W.C. “Red” Myers, father of nursing faculty member Leisa Weston Myers. The award, given to a senior who plays on a sports team, was given to Regan Lunsford, of Clyde, N.C.
Isabella O’Neal, of North Augusta, won the Self Regional Healthcare Award, for consistently displaying a high level of professionalism and innovative leadership.
Isabella Jones, of Lancaster, who will graduate in December, won the Barbara T. Freese Scholarly Development Award, which recognizes a senior with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.3, who is currently enrolled in honors study at Lander.