Western University of Health Sciences College of Graduate Nursing (CGN) held a virtual Commencement ceremony for 118 graduates Tuesday, July 21, 2020 on Zoom and YouTube.

“You are graduating in such a special time. A time when nurses are needed more than ever,” said CGN Dean Mary Lopez, PhD, RN. “So embrace the future. You will soon be given the chance to shape, improve upon and brighten the future of nursing and health care. You will be right in the midst of it all as it transforms right in front of you. Spend your life honing your expertise, your knowledge and your skills, but never lose your humanity, your passion and your care.”

Emergency Nurse Practitioner graduates (left to right) Mackenzie Lynn Williams, Erica Williams-Neubert and Folley Igbinosun.

CGN celebrated the first class to complete the Emergency Nurse Practitioner (ENP) Certificate program. Folley Igbinosun, Erica Williams-Neubert and Mackenzie Lynn Williams were family nurse practitioners who continued to work in their clinical settings while completing this subspecialty training.

“These three individuals never failed to impress us with their dedication, commitment and passion for the emergency nurse practitioner role,” said Chris Magladry, DNP, FNP-BC, director of the ENP program. “They navigated the rigorous didactic learning, provided us with exceptional case study presentations and completed their clinical requirements in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic on the front lines during these challenging times.”

The World Health Organization declared 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife to highlight the challenging conditions they often face and advocate for increased investments in the nursing and midwifery workforce.

CGN alumna Penny Bacon, DNP ’19.

“2020 will be indelibly marked in our collective consciousness as a year of tremendous challenge, as well as thousands of acts of heroic service,” said CGN alumna Penny Bacon, DNP ’19, who provided the WesternU Alumni Association message.

In the Year of the Nurse and Nurse Midwife, what stands out is that nurses play an indispensable, critical role.

“I am certain that many of you, like me, have been welcomed into the most sacred of personal happenings, to hold the trust of those who did not individually know you but who would nevertheless receive you as their nurse, to partner in their journey, be it sorrowfully or joyfully, and witness what is to be frail in body but to be mighty in spirit,” Bacon said. “I hope for you such fullness in your life as a nurse. May you be ever mindful of the passion of why you became a nurse and that the many ways both small and large of how you are the architect of positive change in the lives of others.”

WesternU College of Graduate Nursing graduates celebrate their virtual Commencement.