Lander Honors Nursing Graduates
Thursday, May 23, 2019
students at nursing pinning
Lander nursing graduates recite the Nightingale Pledge, a statement of nursing ethics and principles, at last week’s nursing recognition ceremony. Photo by Laura Brown

“How are you going to make an impact?” That was the question that guest speaker Dr. Theresa Gunter Lawson asked graduates at the Lander University School of Nursing’s  annual recognition ceremony, held on Tuesday, May 14.

“Nurses are privileged to be present at some of the most beautiful moments, and some of the most heart-wrenching moments, in patients’ lives. Approach that with reverence. No matter when you come in, or when you leave their lives, make sure that you make a difference,” said Lawson, an associate professor of nursing at Anderson University, and 2002 graduate of Lander.

Thirteen master of science in nursing graduates were honored during the ceremony, the largest graduating class ever since the establishment of the program in 2014. Honorees included Stephanie Louise Ahn, of Clinton; Portia Debrelle Bluford-Briggs, of Greenwood; William Maxwell Clegg, of Ninety Six; Virginia A. Dean, of Greenwood; Joshua Curtis Eidson, of Greenwood; Debra Ann Hill, of Batesburg; Amanda Christine Holtzclaw, of Loveland, Colo.; Jessica Shaina Kelly, of Honea Path; Stephanie Lewis, of Ninety Six; Amy Leigh Logan, of McCormick; Lisa H. Smith, of Hodges; Tanglia Williams, and Tonya Shaneka Williams, both of Edgefield.

Two students receiving bachelor of science degrees in nursing in conjunction with Lander’s RN to BSN program were also honored: Kirkley Nichole Curtis, of Chesterfield, and Sean Skipper, of Columbia.

Twenty-two prelicensure graduates were recognized for completing work on their bachelor of science in nursing degrees. They included Jennifer Lynn Bell, of Greenwood; Porshai Byrd, of Greenwood; Mary Stephanie Drake, of Prosperity; Morgan Ashley Franklin, of North Augusta; Jessica Marie Holmes, of Ninety Six; Jessica Ashton LeBlanc, of Lexington; Elizabeth Michele Lubnow, of Aiken; Rachel Mechelle Marrah, of Greenville; Stephen Marsden, of Lexington; Megan Noel McJunkin, of Westminster; Christen Alyssa Messer, of Greenwood; Mariah Joy Mickens, of Pickens; Chelesani Nyathi, of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe; Carl Peterson, of Greenville; John Austin Price, of Clover; Sydney Roberts, of Greenwood; Jessica Morgan Robinson, of Iva; Leah Taylor, of Hickory Tavern; Brandon Wilson Teal, of Chesterfield; Haley Mariah Waddell, of Fort Mill; Emma Carson West, of Pauline; and Megan Amanda Zahler, of Chesterfield.

Receiving special recognition were Teal, winner of the Faculty Award of Excellence; Bell, winner of the Clinical Excellence Award; Holmes, winner of the Professional Nursing Award; and Marsden, winner of the Professional Development Award. LeBlanc won the Neuman Award, given to the student who has shown the most holistic approach to client care, and Roberts won the Nursing Leadership Award, presented by Self Regional Healthcare to the graduate demonstrating emerging ability to advance the practice of professional nursing.

Dean of Nursing Dr. Holisa Wharton called the ceremony “a special event for us as we recognize the accomplishments of our graduates. For the past few years, we have watched them learn and grow, and we’re ready now to watch them go forth and begin the new chapters in their lives.”