Celebrating the Class of 2019
The College of Nursing celebrated 178 graduates from across the BSN, DNP and PhD programs.
In the spring, the College of Nursing celebrated 178 graduates from across the BSN, DNP and PhD programs. The college and the university held several events throughout the graduation weekend to recognize graduates, along with their family and friends.
Festivities kicked off the morning of Friday, May 3, for the BSN graduates who participated in their traditional Pinning Ceremony. This ceremony represents the transition of student to professional nurse and officially welcomes the graduates as Gator Nurse alumni. The Pinning Ceremony is hosted by the College of Nursing’s Alumni Council, who pin the graduates as they are recognized on stage.
This year’s Alumni of the Year Awards were presented to Della Tuten (BSN 2005, MSN 2006) and Lisa Magary (BSN 2005, MSN 2006, DNP 2010), founding partners and health care providers with Celebrate Primary Care of Gainesville and Alachua.
Graduating senior Natalie Barnes addressed her class during the ceremony. Barnes served as president of the UF Nursing College Council and spoke of the camaraderie the class shared and how being a Gator Nurse means making a difference.
“Being a Gator Nurse means being a leader in our field. It means fearlessly approaching every obstacle that comes our way and creating innovative solutions to the problems we encounter. But above all being a Gator Nurse means we are part of a family. This family will always be there to support us, and they will always have our backs.”
– Natalie Barnes, BSN graduate
For the first time, this year’s Pinning Ceremony included a special ceremony to commission three nursing graduates into the United States Navy. Although graduates are often commissioned to the military near graduation, it has never taken place at an official College of Nursing event.
“For generations, nurses have played pivotal roles in our country’s military. In fact, Gator Nurses have been recognized in all branches of the military for their bravery, their leadership and their selfless devotion to others in the face of grave circumstances,” said Director of Student Success Sharon Bradley, DNP, MSN, BSN, RN, CNL, CNE. “We are proud of the fact that every year, we graduate nurses who elect to join the Armed Forces and serve our country in this admirable way. This year, three of our nursing graduates will be joining the United States Navy. Shayla Bell-Francis, Lauren Rocheleau and Jenna Scheler: We are honored that your official commission is taking place as part of our ceremony today.”
Several graduates also received special awards during the Pinning Ceremony that exemplify excellence in certain areas. These awards and their recipients include:
- The Care Award: Caroline Hicks
- The Lead Award: Erica Del Ray
- The Inspire Award: Lois Burns
- The Award for Excellence in Community Service: Carly Reeves
- The Award for Diversity and Inclusion: Courtney Belgrade
Watch highlights of the Pinning Ceremony below.
All University of Florida doctoral graduates, including College of Nursing PhD and DNP graduates, were able to participate in a commencement ceremony the afternoon of Friday, May 3, at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. The undergraduate commencement ceremony, which included the BSN graduates, took place the morning of Saturday, May 4, in the stadium.