NEWBURGH – Mount Saint Mary College honored nearly 30 graduates of its prestigious Nursing program at a pinning ceremony on Sunday, December 16.
Fr. Gregoire Fluet, chaplain and director of Campus Ministry at the Mount, blessed the pins, which were presented to the graduates by chosen family members and friends.
The Mount Saint Mary College nursing pin displays the college seal and motto, doce me veritatem, which translates as “teach me the truth.”
Kathleen Kightlinger-Steiger, assistant professor of Nursing, welcomed the students and their families. She offered the graduates words of encouragement and advice for their upcoming careers.
Dr. Jason N. Adsit, president of the college, recognized the students on a job well done.
“Allow me to join the chorus of voices congratulating all of you on this wonderful achievement,” said Adsit, noting that his mother, at age 87, still cherishes her nursing pin. “It matters a great deal, and it’s a symbol of your profession.”
Susan LaRocco, the dean of the School of Nursing, told the candidates that they were now ready to take on a challenging and rewarding career. She noted that while the students’ professors had served as their role models over the course of their studies, “now, it is your turn to be a role model for future nurses.”
Their nursing pins should be a reminder to provide “culturally congruent, safe, quality care, based on ethical principles, to diverse populations across the lifespan,” LaRocco said. “The core values [of nursing] will not change: compassion, belief in human dignity, social justice, and integrity will remain integral to nursing. Live those values, and we will be proud of you, no matter what role you fill in nursing or where you practice.”
The ceremony’s keynote speaker was Andrea Ackermann, professor of Nursing. This nurse pining ceremony was especially touching for Ackermann, a beloved Mount professor for nearly two decades, as she will be retiring at the conclusion of the Fall 2018 semester. The ceremony served as her final public address to her students.
“I couldn’t help but personally relate to your circumstances today,” she said. “Now you have to anticipate your future, and the future is here, right now, today… I too am anticipating great change in my life. I am retiring this week, after a 19 year tenure at Mount Saint Mary College and 35 years of nursing. We are all anticipating our new lives.”
She added, “This is your future. You will laugh, you may cry, you’re going to get tired, and you may experience some low points of grief, but you also have the opportunity to experience some of the greatest personal feelings of success. This is just the beginning of one of the most rewarding careers that there is.”
Michael Petkos of Germantown, N.Y. offered his reflections on the group’s journey from novices to Nursing graduates. He credited their professors with molding them into the confident nurses they are today, and thanked their families for their support.
“Nursing school is unequivocally a monumental challenge,” he said, noting that things were made more difficult by the responsibilities and expectations of adult life, which didn’t end where their classes began. “This is the hardest thing we’ve ever done. I am proud of us, collectively… and I’m proud of each of you individually. We have earned the right to be here today.”
The graduates were thankful for the ongoing mentoring and dedication of the Mount’s nursing professors. Simone Williams of Newburgh, N.Y. applauded her professors for their dedication and aid throughout her education experience.
The students were also full of praise for their families. Olivia Antonelli of Gardiner, N.Y. dedicated her pin to her husband: “Without his love and support, this journey would not have been possible.” She also dedicated the pin to her children, her mother, and God, “who gifted me strength and perseverance though it all.”
Jessica Espinal of Danbury, Conn. was pinned by her mother, Eva. Espinal echoed Antonelli’s sentiment: “Thank you to my parents, my sisters, my boyfriend, my family, and my friends for supporting me throughout this journey,” she said.
To close out the ceremony, the proud graduates recited “A Nurse’s Prayer,” which speaks of dedicating one’s life to helping others.
Additional Mount graduates who received their nursing pin on December 16 were: Joseph Chambers of Newburgh, N.Y.; Rose Daniels of Spring Valley, N.Y.; Stephen Doster of Salt Point, N.Y.; Georgia Fountain of Peekskill, N.Y.; Zahra Gaye-Singhateh of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Virginia Hambrick of Chester, N.Y.; Martina Hojsak of Highland, N.Y.; Gulneet Kaur of Newburgh, N.Y.; Briana Leonard of Highland, N.Y.; Michael Lifvergren of Harriman, N.Y.; Alvaro Lopez of Washingtonville, N.Y.; Brianna Lopez of Washingtonville, N.Y.; Michael Maggi of Beacon, N.Y.; Lauren Martello of Campbell Hall, N.Y.; Brody Moller of Wappingers Falls, N.Y.; Andrew O’Connell of Staatsburg, N.Y.; Carmen Reich of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Carolyn Sales of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; Anathea Smuckler of Goshen, N.Y.; James Stoudnour of Walden, N.Y.; Sara Unterreiner of Wallkill, N.Y.; Oanh Van of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; and Noelia Vargas of Bronx, N.Y.
Mount Nursing students enter the field ready to take care of those in need in hospitals and other medical facilities. The baccalaureate degree program in Nursing, the master’s degree program in Nursing, and the post-graduate APRN certificate program at Mount Saint Mary College are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (http://www.ccneaccreditation.org). Mount Nursing students consistently score higher than the state average on the NCLEX-RN test, and they benefit from state-of-the-art simulation labs and learning resources, clinical relationships with more than 40 area hospitals, and passionate faculty.