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Congratulations to the Class of 2021!

Penn Nursing’s 2021 commencement was different again this year due to the pandemic. The graduates, their families, friends, and the Penn Nursing community, gathered online for our virtual graduation on May 17, 2021. We celebrated their achievements, their studies, their work, their honors, and we welcomed them among the ranks of the Penn Nursing Alumni.

In her welcoming remarks, Penn Nursing Dean Antonia Villarruel told the graduating class, “Each of you should be confident in your abilities—because you are innovators; you are leaders; you are brave. You weathered the pandemic. You reached your goal! I know what you have accomplished. I know how hard you’ve worked for this moment. Each of you. The Class of 2021 embodies the grit and determination and bravery that distinguishes Penn Nursing. Everywhere I look, I see incredible examples of leaders who have found ways to excel despite the challenges of this pandemic.”

The entire virtual commencement ceremony can be watched here.

BY THE NUMBERS

The event honored all of our 686 graduates. That number includes all the students who will have received degrees this academic year, including December 2020, May and August 2021 graduates. The breakdown of the 2021 graduating class is as follows:

  • 13 PhDs
  • 43 DNPs
  • 451 Graduate Students (MSN and post-MSN)
  • 179 Undergraduate Students

CONGRESSWOMAN ADDRESSES GRADUATING CLASS

Dean Villarruel introduced Congresswoman Lauren Underwood, MSN/MPH, RN, FAAN U.S. Representative for Illinois’ 14th Congressional District as the 2021 Penn Nursing graduation speaker. Underwood is the first woman, the first person of color, and the first millennial to represent her community in Congress. She is also the youngest African American woman to serve in the United States House of Representatives, and bears the distinction of being only one of nine nurses to have ever done so.

Underwood’s inspiring speech included a request to the graduating students. “There are two things I want you to remember: first, diversity is a source of strength. The unique experiences you bring to your career – in your life, at the bedside, in your community – will all strengthen your clinical perspective and increase your impact. Please bring your full self to work every day. My background allows me to see problems and identify solutions that others may not. My colleagues count on my perspective because it’s different. Second, you do not have to wait until later in your career to offer your leadership. Whether we’re talking about leading your workplace or your community or your country: we need you. And you already have everything you need.”

STUDENT AWARDS

Several students in the Class of 2021 received awards for their leadership ability, creativity, academic, and research excellence. A full list is below:

Jamie Chung

The Alumni Spirit Award for Graduating Students is awarded for outstanding contributions to the achievement of Penn Nursing Alumni goals, including fostering loyalty to the School and the University and advancing social and professional bonds among classmates and alumni during their student experiences.

Alycia Bischof, Nu’90, Gnu’95, GRN’21

The Alumni Spirit Award recognizes a Penn Nursing graduate for outstanding contributions to the achievement of Penn Nursing Alumni goals. These contributions may include fostering loyalty to the School and the University, as well as advancing social and professional bonds among alumni.

Jada Edwards

The Claire M. Fagin Award is awarded to a graduating doctoral, master’s, or un­dergraduate student who has demonstrated a high level of leadership and creativity at the School of Nursing or within the larger Penn community.

Anthony Scarpone-Lambert

The Dean’s Award is awarded to a graduating doctoral, master’s, or undergraduate student who epitomizes the philosophy of the School of Nursing

Kathryn Riman

The Dorothy Mereness Award is awarded to a graduating doctoral, master’s, or undergraduate student for excellence in scholarly writing.

Audrey Kingman

The Henry O. Thompson Prize in Ethics is awarded to a graduating master’s or doctoral student for distinction on ethical thinking and action.

Kendall Grasela

The Jeanne Frances Hopkins Award is awarded to a nursing undergraduate or graduate student who has achieved academic excellence while embarking on a uniquely Penn curricular opportunity.

Allison Marie Dubiner

The JoAnn Nallinger Grant Award is awarded to a nursing undergraduate who is graduating with a minor in Nutrition or a second major in Nutrition Science, and who has demonstrated academic excellence and exemplary achievement in education, service, and/or research.

Asaki Toda

The Joyce E. Thompson Award in Women’s Health is awarded to the master’s student who demonstrates leadership and excellence in maternal and child health.

Joshua Porat-Dahlerbruch

The Marion R. Gregory Award is awarded to the PhD student whose complet­ed dissertation promises significant contribution to nursing knowledge.

Cassidy Gallagher

The Mary D. Naylor Undergraduate Research Award is awarded to a nursing undergraduate student who demonstrates contributions to advancing nursing knowledge through research.

Elyse Berman

The Norma M. Lang Award is awarded to an undergraduate or master’s stu­dent who has demonstrated excellence in academic and scholarly practice.

Frances Anjelique Agudo

The Rosalyn J. Watts Diversity Scholar Leadership Award is awarded to the undergraduate student whose outstanding qualities of scholarship and leadership exemplify a commitment to the Penn SON Office of Diversity and Cultural Affairs by serving as a role model to promote meaningful interaction among diverse groups.

Julia Ann Kennedy and Lindsay Krott

The Sigma Theta Tau BSN Student Leadership Award recognizes BSN students s who are members of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society, Xi Chapter, who demonstrate a high level of academic achievement, leadership, and service within the School of Nursing, University and/or the community.

Alexandrea Russell

The Sigma Theta Tau MSN Student Leadership Award recognizes an MSN student who is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society, Xi Chapter, who demonstrates a high level of academic achievement, leadership, and service within the School of Nursing, University, and/or the community.

Beth Quigley and Olivia Arnold

The Sigma Theta Tau Doctoral Student Leadership Award recognizes doctoral (DNP and/or PhD) students who are members of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society, Xi Chapter, who demonstrate a high level of academic achievement, leadership, and service within the School of Nursing, University, and/or the community.

Bruno Saconi

The Teaching Assistant Award recognizes a teaching assistant who demonstrates cognitive, professional, and interpersonal competencies

Lindsay Krott

The Theresa I. Lynch Award recognizes a graduating doctoral, master’s, or un­dergraduate student for consistent contributions to the advancement of the School of Nursing.

UNIVERSITY STUDENT AWARDS

Two Penn Nursing students were also honored with University awards during the School’s 265th Commencement:

Jamie Chung was awarded the Asian Alumni Network Student Leadership Award for her impact on the diverse community at Penn.

Anthony Scarpone-Lambert was awarded the President’s Innovation Prize for Lumify Care which aims to improve the patient experience by developing innovative tools and resources needed to support frontline health care workers, and the Spoon Award for receiving the most votes from the senior class among his fellow candidates.