MHU’s First Class of Pre-Licensure Nursing Students Graduates

Ten of this year’s eleven R.N. to B.S.N. graduates (Caroline Salinas was not able to attend) participate in the lamp lighting ceremony, led by Chuck Tucker of the Judge-McRae School of Nursing faculty.

The largest class of nursing students yet to graduate from Mars Hill University did so on Saturday, May 12, 2018. Of the 27 nursing graduates, 16 of them are the university’s first pre-licensure bachelor of science (B.S.N.) in nursing graduates, completing their undergraduate degrees through the Judge-McRae School of Nursing. The other eleven spring 2018 graduates are nurses who already had their registered nurse (R.N.) degrees, and completed Mars Hill’s R.N. to B.S.N. program to obtain the bachelor’s degree.

The nurses also were recognized in a Friday evening pinning ceremony. Graduating nurses receive a pin which signifies their transition from the student role to the medical practice role. The tradition is said to have originated in the 1860s with Florence Nightingale, who presented medals of excellence to the graduating nurses of the Nightingale School of Nursing at St. Thomas Hospital in London, England. As part of the ceremony, the nurses lit lamps and recited the Nightingale/Nursing Pledge, which is an adaptation of the Hippocratic Oath taken by physicians. Saturday’s commencement fell on the anniversary of Nightingale’s birth on May 12, 1820.

Linda Judge-McRae speaks to spring 2018 nursing graduates at the pinning ceremony for the Judge-McRae School of Nursing at Mars Hill University.

Guest speaker for the pinning ceremony was Linda Judge-McRae. She and her husband, Norman, own Caris Healthcare in Knoxville, Tennessee, and provided fundamental vision and financial support to establish the Judge-McRae School of Nursing. Judge-McRae encouraged the graduating nurses to remember that customer service is a key part of their role. “As direct patient care givers, we need to ask ourselves, ‘Is the care I’m providing the care I would give to my loved one,'” she said. “Whenever we find ourselves wondering whether the extra effort is worth it, let’s remember the real impact of customer service in patient care and go the second mile for the people we serve.”

Student speakers were Suzanne Palmer of Edneyville, North Carolina, representing the R.N. to B.S.N. students, and Rachel Reed of Hendersonville, North Carolina, representing the pre-licensure B.S.N. students.

Siphoesihle (CeCe) Mangena, a member of the first cohort of pre-licensure B.S.N. students at Mars Hill University, receives her pin from Cathy Franklin-Griffin, dean of the Judge McRae School of Nursing.

Several students were singled out for special recognition. In the R.N. to B.S.N. program, Tonya Ponder of Weaverville, North Carolina, received the Academic Excellence Award and the Leadership Excellence Award; and Sylvia Reed of Hendersonville, North Carolina, received the Care Provider Excellence Award. In the pre-licensure B.S.N. program, Huns Brown of Marshall, North Carolina, received the Academic Excellence Award; Nancy Stump of Alexander, North Carolina, received the Leadership Excellence Award; and Anna Woodruff of Marshall, North Carolina, received the Care Provider Excellence Award.

Spring 2018 nursing graduates are:

R.N. to B.S.N.

  • Jeanna Barnett of Asheville, North Carolina
  • Angela Carswell of Valdese, North Carolina
  • Savannah Hays of Hendersonville, North Carolina
  • Michelle Martin of Morganton, North Carolina
  • Suzanne Palmer of Edneyville, North Carolina
  • Tonya Ponder of Weaverville, North Carolina
  • Sylvia Reed of Hendersonville, North Carolina
  • Caroline Salinas of Candler, North Carolina
  • Elizabeth Sivore of Brevard, North Carolina
  • Chelsea Webb of Canton, North Carolina
  • Susan Whiteside of Canton, North Carolina

Pre-licensure B.S.N.

  • Huns Brown of Marshall, North Carolina
  • Maria Caudle of Asheville, North Carolina
  • Rachel Fuqua of Boiling Springs, South Carolina
  • Danielle Hughes of Burnsville, North Carolina
  • Daleigh Jones of Asheville, North Carolina
  • Dallie Lawrence of Weaverville, North Carolina
  • Kelcy Lehman of Fairview, North Carolina
  • Siphoesihle Mangena of Asheville, North Carolina
  • Mekenzie Monkus of Hayesville, North Carolina
  • Shellie Reece of Mars Hill, North Carolina
  • Rachel Reed of Hendersonville, North Carolina
  • Josie Ritchie of Asheville, North Carolina
  • Nancy Stump of Alexander, North Carolina
  • Dora Themistocleous of Candler, North Carolina
  • Vanessa Viscusi of Bryson City, North Carolina
  • Anna Woodruff of Marshall, North Carolina

About the Judge-McRae School of Nursing:

The Judge-McRae School of Nursing offers classes in the R.N. to B.S.N. program at Mars Hill’s Asheville Center for Adult and Graduate Studies. The pre-licensure BSN program is offered in the Ferguson Health Sciences Center on the main university campus. The baccalaureate degree in nursing at Mars Hill University (Judge-McRae School of Nursing) is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (www.ccneaccreditation.org). The Judge-McRae School of Nursing and Ferguson Health Sciences Center received support from GoldenLEAF Foundation.