WYE MILLS — The Chesapeake College MGW (Macqueen Gibbs Willis) Nursing Program graduated 36 new nurses May 21.

Chesapeake President Dr. Clifford Coppersmith said he has been involved with nursing education for over 11 years as a dean and has personal ties to the profession, as well.

Coppersmith’s grandmother was a commissioned officer of the U.S. Army Nursing Corps for World War II. She served in Hawaii on active duty and there met Coppersmith’s grandfather, outranking him for a short while as first lieutenant.

“For me, the nursing profession is a sacred one. It’s a special one,” Coppersmith said. “What you see tonight ultimately epitomizes what we do as a college. Stop for a moment and think about what we would do without nurses in our hospitals and our professional health care providers, who are the foundation of our civilization as we know it.”

The Nursing Class of 2019 raised money for Compass Regional Hospice, as many of the students were touched by the organization’s mission.

Nursing Class of 2019 speaker Kristine Olsen recounted the students’ many accomplishments.

“We’ve embodied the full spirit of nursing from the knowledge of complex disease processes, to the intricacies of medication administration, to the delicate of nuances of therapeutic communication, to the importance of patient education,” Olsen said.

“We will all move forward to become that nurse to one patient or hundreds of patients,” Olsen said. “That nurse who saved them physically, emotionally, spiritually. That nurse that treated them as a person. That nurse they tell people about. That nurse that will inspire them to go into nursing. That nurse that they will never forget.”

The director of the nursing program, Dr. Judith Stetson, was recognized for celebrating 20 years with Chesapeake College this year. Stetson is the longest acting director of an associate nursing program in the state of Maryland.

The program’s first director, Nancy Henry, was honored for her retirement. Henry returned to Chesapeake College’s nursing program five years ago after retiring from Delaware Technical College. It also was her birthday.

The pinning ceremony also featured the presentation of the nursing program’s most prestigious student awards. Haley Niblett received the Excellence in Psychiatric Nursing for this year. Elise Cannon received the Joan Coccaro Memorial Award. Olga Hofmann won the J. Tyler Baker Award.

The Nick Rajacich Award for Excellence went to Meagen Owens, who also was selected by nursing faculty to receive the Outstanding Graduate in Nursing Award during commencement. Kristine Olsen earned the Outstanding Service Award.

Brooke Davidson was named the recipient of the Higgs-Hubbert Excellence in Med.-Surg. Nursing Award. The award was named in honor of retiring nursing instructors Laura Higgs and Nancy Hubbert.

The new nurses received their traditional nursing pins during the May 21 ceremony in the Todd Performing Arts Center and lighted porcelain lamps in recognition of nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale. The lamp became a symbol of nursing thanks to Nightingale’s work during the Crimean War. Both receiving the pin and lighting the lamp are time-honored rites of passage in the nursing field.

The 2019 nursing class members are: Arshia A. Awan, Candice Callahan, Elise Cannon*, Kati Clark, Courtney Diatavia Coleman, Brooke Davidson, Kaitlyn Rose Davis, Kelsie Enos, Ebony N. Ewing, Alejandra Gonzalez-Madrid, Ashley Brooke Greenhawk, Brittany Nicole Gustafson, Olga Hofmann, Lacy M. Hughes, Shannon Iman*, Mackenzie Joyce*, Clint King, Erin Leaverton, Ryan Lively, Miranda Muehlbauer, Kimberly Narvesen, Haley O. Niblett*, Kristine Anne Olsen*, Jennifer Owens, Meagan Owens*, Veronika L. Owens, Rachel Ellen Price*, Patrick Rhynalds, Karen Secrist, Taylor Spears*, Jameson Sterling, Courtney Stormes, Stacy Touponce, Shelia Uncapher, Tyler Walter and Ashley Zepp.

*Member of the Alpha Delta Nu Honor Society of Nursing


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