Nursing Grads Celebrated With Virtual Ceremony

NEWBURGH – Mount Saint Mary College honored the graduates of its prestigious Nursing program at a virtual ceremony on Friday, May 15.

Susan LaRocco, dean of Mount Saint Mary College’s School of Nursing, congratulated the Nursing students on a job well done.

“Now you’re joining the ranks of the almost four million nurses in the United States,” said LaRocco. “Your faculty and I could not be more proud of your accomplishments. Not only have you persevered through a rigorous curriculum, you have provided service to the community in many ways.”

This year’s Nursing graduates have assisted at local food pantries, taught young children about hospitals and nurses, and mentored high school students who are considering careers in nursing. In addition to these and other service initiatives, two dozen students from the college’s School of Nursing recently volunteered to help fight against the COVID-19 pandemic at Bon Secours Charity Health System.

“Take all you’ve learned here and use it to provide compassionate, high quality care to all of your patients,” LaRocco said. “Welcome to the wonderful profession of nursing.”

Fr. Gregoire Fluet, chaplain and director of Campus Ministry at the Mount, offered a blessing to the new graduates: “May the Lord bless you and keep you, may He bless your nursing pins, and may you be true and real instruments of healing.”

Several students from the class of 2020 were recognized for excellence in their studies and dedication to the field of Nursing. The award recipients were:

– AMA NY Future Nurse Leader Award: Shannon Christiano of Yaphank, N.Y., president of the Mount’s Student Nurses’ Association

– School of Nursing Clinical Excellence Award: Erica Sitler of Wappingers Falls, N.Y. and Jessica Koch of West Islip, N.Y.

– School of Nursing Leadership Award: Vanesa Mazza of New Windsor, N.Y.

– Perseverance Award: Haley Cool of Fair Lawn, N.J.

– General Excellence in Nursing Award: Soleil Bent of Newburgh, N.Y.

– Spirit of Nursing Award: Amanda Krom of Saugerties, N.Y. and Jennifer Turci of Plantsville, Conn.

– Sigma Nursing Award: Emily Leath of Ronkonkoma, N.Y.

The DAISY Foundation Nurse Faculty Award was presented to Linda Kelly, assistant professor of Nursing, honoring her for her dedication to the Mount and the community. Among many other notable contributions, Kelly was instrumental in the School of Nursing’s “fuzzy friends” clinics. Hosted at local libraries, the clinics helped young children to become comfortable with healthcare professionals and the common equipment they use. Under Kelly’s guidance, Mount Nursing students examined the youngsters’ stuffed animals, bandaged them up, listened for their heart beats, and more.

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