NEWBURGH – Mount Saint Mary College held a pinning ceremony for nearly 40 graduates of the college’s nursing program on Friday, December 16.
Fr. Francis Amodio, O.Carm., director of Campus Ministry and campus chaplain, blessed the pins, which were presented to the graduates by chosen family members and friends. Dr. David Kennett, president of the Mount, congratulated the graduates on a job well done.
The Mount Saint Mary College nursing pin displays the college seal and the motto, “doce me veritatem,” which translates as “teach me the truth.”
Mount nursing professors Dianne Murphy and Susan Schulmerich, co-chairs of the School of Nursing, and Teresa Hurley, offered the graduates words of encouragement and advice for their upcoming nursing careers.
Audrey Graham-O’Gilvie, associate chief nurse at VA Hudson Valley Health Care System and Mount adjunct professor, gave the keynote speech. She encouraged the graduates to “lead the change in healthcare systems.”
“I give you my congratulations,” she said. “I really am so proud of your all. You don’t look like students anymore, but true nurses.”
She added, “This is a lot of responsibility. Respect and compassion must be remembered.”
Sebastian Morales of Poughkeepsie, N.Y. – recipient of the School of Nursing Leadership Award and the Sigma Research Award – gave his reflections. He credited the group’s professors with molding them into the confident nurses they are today.
“I wanted to thank our loved ones…because without their love and support, we would not have made it,” he said. “We all worked our tail off to be here.”
Other award recipients were Tina Stephens of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., who was given the General Excellence in Nursing Award; Zachary Ruckh of Newburgh, N.Y., who received the School of Nursing Clinical Excellence award; Laura Longbard of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., who earned the Spirit of Nursing and the Sigma Tau Leadership awards; Sitora Scherer of Cold Spring, N.Y., who got the Perseverance Award, and Jillian Martarano of Newburgh, N.Y., who was given the Sigma Theta Tau Leadership Award.
The students were full of praise for their families. Marisa Fasone of Lake Katrine, N.Y., who was pinned by her mother, Lisa, and her father, Ken, said she couldn’t have graduated without the support of her parents.
“I dedicate this pin to my parents, my family, and my boyfriend, James,” she said. “Thank you for supporting me during this long and difficult journey.”
Nursing grad Ronald Lawyer of Garnerville, N.Y, born in Ghana, lived in the small village of Eremon with no electricity and no running water. His father passed away when Lawyer was a young child.
Retired plumber Benjamin Kotzker met Lawyer while on a Christian service trip to Africa. Impressed with the young man’s intelligence, Kotzker invited Lawyer to live with him and his wife, Barbara.
Lawyer agreed to complete nursing school, a promise he was proud to make good on this December.
“I wish to dedicate my pin to my family here at home and abroad, to my friends, the School of Nursing faculty, and staff members alike,” he said. “To all my well-wishers, thank you for your relentless prayers and support.”
Lawyer said he was driven to a career in health professions by his spiritual desire to serve others.
“There’s a joy in seeing someone come to you very sick and you give them your attention, give them the cure,” he said. “Helping somebody feel better brings so much joy and peace.”
To close out the ceremony, the newly-minted nurses recited “A Nurse’s Prayer,” which speaks of dedicating one’s life to helping others.
Additional Mount graduates who received their nursing pin are: Sarah Bauer of Newburgh, N.Y; Amber Cardona of Newburgh, N.Y.; Megan Cunningham of Central Valley, N.Y.; Michael Darin of Chester, N.Y.; Carolina Eraso of Middletown, N.Y.; Guerda Monestime-Estimable of Newburgh, N.Y.; Kristopher Garcia of Newburgh, N.Y.; Catherine Gaynor of Clintondale, N.Y.; Parneet Grewal of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Lisa King of Florida, N.Y.; Suzeline Lamothe of New Paltz, N.Y.; Jennifer Laubach of Milton, N.Y.; Buffy-Nicole Mata of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Jackie Matthews of Montgomery, N.Y.; Stephanie Mensler of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Angel Murphy of Ulster Park, N.Y.; Gladys Ofori of Wappingers Falls, N.Y.; Michael Patterson of Walkill, N.Y.; Melissa Perleoni of Farmington, Conn.; Olivia Persaud of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Cathy Richmond of Highland Mills, N.Y.; Janine Rose of Newburgh, N.Y.; Martha Silvera-Simms of New Windsor, N.Y.; Samantha Swetz of Poughquag, N.Y.; Meagan Thid of Beacon, N.Y.; Stephanie Tooker of Pleasant Valley, N.Y.; Olivia Turock of Peekskill, N.Y.; Tiffany Tyler of Pine Bush, N.Y.; Yamaris C. Vaillant of Washingtonville, N.Y.; Marie Zamilus of Peekskill, N.Y.; and Zai Xu Zhu of the Bronx, N.Y.