Graduating Nurses Recognized During Pinning Ceremony

Mars Hill University honored the 2023 graduates of the Judge-McRae School of Nursing during a pinning ceremony on Friday, May 5, 2023, at 2pm in Broyhill Chapel.

The spring 2023 graduates of MHU’s Pre-licensure Bachelor of Science in Nursing program are:
Janet Britt of Candler, North Carolina
Annie Heath of Swannanoa, North Carolina
Kari Jackson of Blacksburg, South Carolina
Allie Jones of Leicester, North Carolina
Naomi Llamas of Alexander, North Carolina
Tiffany Saavedra Medina of Indian Trail, North Carolina
Brenda Mendoza of Asheville, North Carolina
Amanda Waskiewicz of Jupiter, Florida
Meredith Wilson of Asheville, North Carolina

Three students received awards for excellence in academic performance, leadership, and clinical care:
Kari Jackson received the Academic Excellence award, presented to the graduating student who has demonstrated the highest academic ability, as determined by overall grade point average.
Allie Jones received the Leadership Excellence award, which recognizes the exceptional leadership of a nursing graduate who has made significant contributions to improving the Mars Hill community outside of the classroom.
Naomi Llamas received the Care Provider award, which recognizes the nursing student who has exemplified excellence to patients, families, staff, and other providers in the community. Their care is demonstrated throughout their time in nursing. This award is chosen by the students to recognize one of their classmates.

Guest speaker for the pinning ceremony was Dr. Sharon West, assistant professor of nursing. Naomi Llamas and Allie Jones were the student speakers. The ceremony included an Anointing of Hands, during which chaplain Rev. Stephanie McLeskey anointed the new nurses’ hands with olive oil and gave them each a blessing.

Graduating nurses received a pin which signifies their transition from the student role to the nursing practice role. The tradition is said to have originated in the 1860s with Florence Nightingale, who is considered the founder of modern nursing. After receiving their pins, the nurses lit lamps and recited the Nightingale/Nursing Pledge, which is an adaptation of the Hippocratic Oath taken by physicians.

The baccalaureate degree in nursing at Mars Hill University (Judge-McRae School of Nursing) is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education ( The Judge-McRae School of Nursing and Ferguson Health Sciences Center have been recipients of grants from GoldenLEAF Foundation and HRSA Nursing Workforce.