Summer graduates from Mennonite College of Nursing’s (MCN) accelerated B.S.N., traditional B.S.N., and online RN-B.S.N. programs gathered August 7 at the Alumni Center for a graduation celebration. Interim Dean H. Catherine Miller welcomed graduates, family, friends, faculty, and staff. She also presented the Accelerated B.S.N. Graduate Achievement Award to Adam Brown.

Assistant Dean of the Undergraduate Program Dianne Clemens reflected on all of the programs that had graduates this summer. “The undergraduate program consists of the traditional, accelerated, and RN-B.S.N. students,” said Clemens. “These graduates follow in the tradition of MCN students graduating before them as ‘exceptionally well prepared.’ It is a thrill to have all three groups of students present today to celebrate together this accomplishment and commitment to patient-centered care.”

Accelerated graduates Katie Torello and Haley Lesnik presented awards to classmates and faculty—a tradition that also continues in the Student Nursing Association’s Candlelighting Ceremony, which is held in April before the University’s spring commencement.

Faculty and administrators congratulated each graduate, and they all recited the International Nursing Pledge.

Terri Bell

Terri Bell

Accelerated B.S.N. graduate Terri Bell gave her reflection speech about being a student at MCN. Bell, who moved to Illinois from Colorado after being accepted into the program, reflected on the first meeting the group had in December 2013, and how the next 15 months they would grow together as a class. After reading MCN’s mission statement, Bell said: “We have become those exceptionally well-prepared nurses who WILL lead—who will improve health outcomes wherever we go. We were given a strong background in skills, theory, evidence-based practice and research. I know that for me, my focus will be to care for the vulnerable and underserved. We have been so purposeful, open, caring, and disciplined, and NOW it is time to celebrate!”

Bell continued to talk about her challenges and struggles, but she said she never gave up on her faith. She feels that gets not only her, but also others, though hard times and gave her hope and courage to pursue a career in nursing.

“We have learned that becoming a nurse means becoming a life-long learner, and that energizes me,” Bell said. “Not just formal classes—every patient, every experience, every mistake, every success—it all has something to teach us.”

There 18 graduates from the accelerated B.S.N. program, 10 from the traditional B.S.N. program, and 21 from the RN/B.S.N. program.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.