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School of Nursing celebrates over 570 nursing graduates

May 26, 2023
Madelin Moses

Congratulations to our Spring 2023 graduating class!

Over 570 nursing students graduated during the spring 2023 convocation on May 24, 571 of which were BScN students and 18 being MSc graduate students.

The day began at 9 a.m. for the annual pinning ceremony organized by the BScN students in the McMaster University Nursing Student Society (MUNSS). The event took place at Hamilton Convention Centre by Carmen’s, conveniently right next door to where the convocation would be taking place later that day.

“The pinning ceremony is where a nursing student becomes a nursing professional” says Halle Bachiu, a BScN student and one of the masters of ceremonies for the event. There were three pinning ceremonies held in different banquet halls: one for the undergraduate students from the McMaster site, one for the undergraduate students from the Conestoga site, and one for the undergraduate students from the Mohawk site.

Joanna Pierazzo, the assistant dean, undergraduate nursing programs, began the ceremony with some kind and encouraging words for the McMaster site BScN students. “I am so proud of this remarkable cohort of graduates. You have persevered change and transition with resilience and grace. You are ready to enter the nursing profession and be the leaders of the future” says Pierazzo.

nursing-pinA previous year nursing pin given to BScN students at pinning.

The ceremony continued with multiple speakers from the School of Nursing (SON), including Sanja Visekruna, an assistant professor, and Tracey Jewiss, a retired SON faculty member. Each offering their words of wisdom and encouragement to the soon to be graduates. Jewiss not only presented multiple awards to students, but also participated in the pinning of the students as well. The other faculty members to participate in pinning was assistant professor, Stephen Gandza, and part-time faculty member, Stepahanie Yi.

Once all students were pinned, everyone was encouraged to mingle, enjoy refreshments, and capture pictures to remember and cherish this special moment.

"There was such excitement in the room as family and friends joined graduates to celebrate this important milestone” says Pierazzo.

Stepahanie.Yip with StudentStepahanie Yi handing BScN student envelope containing pin and Words of Wisdom note from one of our Alumni.

After the pinning ceremony concluded, hours later was when the 626 Convocation of the McMaster University began. The graduands and their loved ones gathered in the spacious FirstOntario Concert Hall and watched. “Convocation is my favourite day where we celebrate our student’s success. Everyone who is part of the school of nursing plays a role to support our students get here” says Vice-Dean, Health Sciences and Executive Director, School of Nursing, Sandra Carroll.

Susan Tighe, provost and vice-president opened the ceremony as the master of ceremonies. After the opening remarks, she called on Chancellor Ms. Santee Smith to deliver the Thanksgiving Address. “I’m pleased to share with you the Ohen:ton Karihwatehkwen, The Works Spoken Before All Else, also called the Thanksgiving Address spoken in Kanyen’kéha, the Mohawk language” says the chancellor.

Chancellor’s Procession Chancellor’s procession as Susan Tighe begins the convocation ceremony.

Once the address was completed, Bernice Downey, associate dean, Indigenous Health, presented this year’s honorary recipient, Pat Mandy, with an eagle feather. The eagle feather is known to be a sacred gift that symbolizes respect, honour, strength, courage and wisdom.

Dean and Vice-President of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Paul O’Byrne, was called to the podium next to present his own welcoming and then formally introduce Mandy to say her remarks.

O’Byrne began with expressing his pride towards this cohort. “You have achieved an immense accomplishment, having been through perhaps the most challenging times for university and for students that any of us have ever experienced” says O’Byrne. Majority of this year’s graduating class had their first year of university interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

O’Byrne then spoke to the many great accomplishments by Mandy, including the countless awards she has acquired throughout her career. She retired from Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) in 2005 as the Vice President of Community Care, and now currently serves as chair of the Biindigne Well-Being Centre Steering Committee and Board Chair of the Hamilton Police Services Board.

Pat Mandy, School of Nursing’s 2023 Spring honorary recipient, speaking at convocation.Pat Mandy, School of Nursing’s 2023 Spring honorary recipient, speaking at convocation.

After Mandy concluded her speech, it was time to introduce the students to walk the stage to accept their individual degrees. David Farar, president and vice-chancellor, presented the graduates to the chancellor for admission to their degrees. “Madame Chancellor, on behalf of McMaster University Senate, I present to you these candidates and those in absentia, in order that you may confer the appropriate degree upon them. And I bear witness that they are worthy and suitable” says Farar.

George Thomas, Professor Emeritus, Department of Linguistics and Languages, announcing each graduate.George Thomas, Professor Emeritus, Department of Linguistics and Languages, announcing each graduate.

Student’s moments before walking the stage to be hooded.Student’s moments before walking the stage to be hooded.

Kirk Guevara, BScN graduate, being hooded.Kirk Guevara, BScN graduate, being hooded.

After all graduates had been hooded and walked the stage, this year’s valedictorian, Salwa Siddiqui, concluded the convocation and addressed everyone on behalf of the 2023 graduating class.

Salwa Siddiqui walking past Susan Tighe to the podium to give her valedictorian speech.Salwa Siddiqui walking past Susan Tighe to the podium to give her valedictorian speech.

Susan Tighe standing backstage as convocation concludes.Susan Tighe standing backstage as convocation concludes.

The School of Nursing wishes all 2023 graduates a tremendous congratulations and good luck on all future endeavours!

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