Celebrating the Class of 2023!
Penn Nursing celebrated the Class of 2023 on May 15 with our annual commencement ceremony at the Kimmel Cultural Campus. We celebrated their achievements, their studies, their work, their honors, along with all of their families, friends, and the Penn Nursing community. It is an honor to welcome them among the ranks of the Penn Nursing Alumni.
In her welcoming remarks, Penn Nursing Dean Antonia Villarruel told the graduating class, “And when you walk out these doors today as official Penn Nursing alums, you become part of a vast Penn Nursing alumni community. Penn Nursing’s faculty, program directors, advisors, mentors, and staff will continue to support you throughout your career. All of us, together. So yes, embrace your support network that includes Penn Nursing and our alumni community. Let us know what and how you are doing, as well as what you need as an alum. You will find it so important when the challenges are greatest.”
Dean Villarruel introduced this year’s commencement speaker, Dr. Richard Besser, President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the nation’s largest health philanthropy. Under Besser’s leadership, the RWJF works to help build a national Culture of Health rooted in equity; a culture that provides every individual with a fair and just opportunity to thrive, no matter who they are, where they live, or how much money they have. RWJF is focused on identifying, illuminating, and addressing the barriers to health caused by structural racism and other forms of discrimination, including sexism, ableism and prejudice based on sexual orientation. Besser has been a leader in the national call for equitable COVID-19 response and recovery efforts and is co-chair of the Presidents’ Council on Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy.
Besser’s remarks to the graduating class were inspirational. “Nursing as a profession is about caregiving and about providing necessary care in times of crisis. It’s about recognizing and understanding the community in which your patient lives and what the opportunities for health are, and for some, what the barriers are to health. The power and influence of your perspective as healthcare’s more trusted professionals can truly make a difference in the lives of patients.”
BY THE NUMBERS
The event honored all of our 473 graduates. That number includes all the students who will have received degrees this academic year, including December 2022, May, and August 2023 graduates. The breakdown of the 2023 graduating class is as follows:
- 14 PhDs
- 58 DNPs
- 228 Graduate Students
- 173 Undergraduate Students
These numbers also include our School’s first six graduates of the Leonard A. Lauder Community Care Nurse Practitioner Program and nine graduates from the Amy Gutmann Leadership Scholars Program.
Several students in the Class of 2023 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.
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.
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.
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 Henry O. Thompson Prize in Ethics is awarded to a graduating master’s or doctoral student for distinction in ethical thinking and action.
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.
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.
The Sigma Theta Tau DNP/PhD 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.
Nina Juntereal and Andre Rosario
The Teaching Assistant Award is awarded to a teaching assistant who demonstrates cognitive, professional, and interpersonal competencies.
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
Marah Sanchez was selected by the University as the Class of 2023’s Ivy Stone Designer.
The entire commencement ceremony can be watched here.