Congratulations to the Class of 2022!
Penn Nursing’s 2022 commencement is in the history books. It was the first in-person graduation held in two years! The graduates, their families, friends, and the Penn Nursing community, gathered at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on May 16, 2022. 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 has within you the spirit of Penn Nursing’s mission and values—a commitment to advance science and demonstrate practice excellence, yes—but also to answer the calls for activism and advocacy—to advance health equity. In pursuit of these goals, many of you will charge down unfamiliar paths. I bet for many of you – coming to Penn was an unfamiliar path. You will continue down paths that simply do not yet exist for nurses - yet. I know you will create those paths – because you have demonstrated here at Penn – that you can do exactly that.”
Dean Villarruel introduced this year’s commencement speaker, Sheila P. Burke, MPA, BSN, FAAN. Burke is a strategic advisor in the Washington D.C. law office of Baker Donelson and chair of the firm’s Government Relations and policy group as well as an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at the JFK School of Government at Harvard. Burke spent over 19 years on Capitol Hill – including Deputy staff director of the Senate Finance Committee responsible for legislation relating to Medicare, Medicaid, and other health programs – and Chief of Staff to Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole – a true American patriot. In addition to her government and academic experience, Burke served as the deputy secretary and chief operating officer of the Smithsonian Institutes, the world’s largest museum and research complex.
Burke’s inspiring speech echoed the Dean’s earlier comments. “In managing this new world, if the last two years have shown us anything, it is the importance of information, and the importance of being part of a team. Those we care for have asked us to talk to one another, to coordinate their care, to know their names, to speak their language, and to include them in decisions. You have proven capable of being a full member of that team, not simply someone else’s extender. At times this means taking risks knowing you will fail, accept it, learn from it, and move on. And never give up. Whatever stands in your way of being the nurse you want to be, find a way around it. It won’t be obstacles that inhibit your progress, but your lack of confidence. “
BY THE NUMBERS
The event honored all of our 586 graduates. That number includes all the students who will have received degrees this academic year, including December 2021, May and August 2022 graduates. The breakdown of the 2022 graduating class is as follows:
- 8 PhDs
- 49 DNPs
- 332 Graduate Students (MSN and post-MSN)
- 197 Undergraduate Students
Several students in the Class of 2021 received awards for their leadership ability, creativity, academic, and research excellence. A full list is below:
The Ann Wolbert Burgess Endowed Student Award is given to a graduating PhD student for demonstrating excellence and leadership in nursing as evidenced by a completed doctoral dissertation that holds significant promise as a contribution to nursing knowledge.
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.
The Marion R. Gregory Award is awarded to the PhD student whose completed dissertation promises significant contribution to nursing knowledge.
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.
The Norma M. Lang Award is awarded to an undergraduate or master’s student who has demonstrated excellence in academic and scholarly practice.
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.
Bruno Ratier Saconi de Almeida
The Dorothy Mereness Award is awarded to a graduating doctoral, master’s, or undergraduate student for excellence in scholarly writing.
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.
The Mary D. Naylor Undergraduate Research Award is awarded to a nursing undergraduate student who demonstrates contributions to advancing nursing knowledge through research.
Angela NaShae Street
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.
Casey Cheng and Melina Lopez
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.
The Sigma Theta Tau BSN Student Leadership Award recognizes a BSN 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.
Seung In Cho
The Sigma Theta Tau ABSN Student Leadership Award recognizes an ABSN 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.
Gordon Stef Zeis
The Sigma Theta Tau DNP Student Leadership Award recognizes a DNP 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.
Austin Michael Matus
The Sigma Theta Tau Research Award provides funding to chapter members who are students, alumni, or faculty. Its purpose is to encourage qualified nurses to contribute to the advancement of nursing through research.
Lucy “Luz” Elena Perez Mendez
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.
The Dean’s Student Award is given to a graduating PhD, master’s, or undergraduate student who epitomizes the philosophy of the School of Nursing.
UNIVERSITY STUDENT AWARDS
Two Penn Nursing students were also honored with University awards during the School’s 266th Commencement:
Bruno Ratier Saconi de Almeida
The Penn Prize for Excellence in Teaching by Graduate Students recognizes the profound impact of graduate students on education at Penn.
Lucy “Luz” Elena Perez Mendez
The Penn Prize for Excellence in Teaching by Graduate Students Association of Latino Alumni Student Leadership Award recognizes a Latino/Latina senior for demonstrating leadership, exemplifying excellence, and promoting diversity in Penn through student activities or community service.
The entire commencement ceremony can be watched here.