Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences holds Commencement 2022 ceremonies
After two years of nontraditional ceremonies to recognize its graduates, Binghamton University’s Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences returned to the University’s Events Center at 1 p.m. May 20 to celebrate Commencement 2022. Almost 170 undergraduate students received a bachelor’s degree in nursing at the event; graduate degrees were presented at alternate events (see below).
Mario R. Ortiz, dean of Decker College, opened the celebration by welcoming the graduating students, their families and guests, faculty and staff, and other members of the University community.
“I express our gratitude to all of you for being involved in this journey that is filled with many joys and successes as our students reached this important milestone,” he said.
Ortiz commented on the difficulties this cohort — like the two before it — faced over the course of their program due to the ongoing pandemic.
“I want to commend you, our incredible students, for your perseverance, dedication and willingness to serve your community and all those within it,” he said. “Your commitment to this amazing profession has been tested over the past couple of years and you have overcome more challenges than anyone could have ever imagined.”
Dean Ortiz closed his remarks by reminding students how proud they have made not only their families, friends, clinical mentors, professors and the University, but also how proud they should be of themselves.
Following Ortiz, Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger told students, “Your nation — and the world — need your talents.
“All of us are hopeful that the worldwide pandemic that we’ve endured for the past two years is on the wane. But if it is, and I sincerely hope it is — we will still need people like you to help us address the next pandemic and the other healthcare challenges we will face in the years to come,” he added. “We need nurses in our hospitals and schools, and leaders who can help make our communities healthier and safer.”
University Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald Nieman spoke briefly next, followed by student speaker Tara Mandel.
“There is no protocol for what a nurse is expected to do while a patient weeps. There was definitely no protocol for what a nurse was expected to do during the height of COVID when their patients were alone, with only their nurse by their side,” Mandel said. “These moments where we can provide relief from pain, sickness and even loneliness are moments to be sought after.”
A student in Decker’s Baccalaureate Accelerated Track program, Mandel earned a bachelor’s degree in integrative neuroscience with a minor in health and wellness studies from Binghamton in May 2021, before returning just weeks later to begin Decker’s fast-track program in nursing.
Mandel reported that there are approximately 36 million people hospitalized each year, along with countless others who are chronically ill, uninsured, underserved, undertreated or undiagnosed. She told her fellow graduates they must do their “absolute best” to care for these patients.
She closed by challenging her nursing class: “We should set the standard for future nurses. Set it high.”
Decker College’s graduating nursing class traditionally presents a gift to the school at Commencement. Nicole Sammartano, Nursing Student Association president and graduating senior, announced that this year’s gift is a donation to the Decker Assessment Kit Sponsorship Fund. The fund provides required medical assessment kits to students to ease some of their financial burden; kits include medical equipment required by every nursing student for use during clinical and simulation experiences.
Degrees were then awarded to students as they walked across the stage, then, each student was given a nursing pin. Every school of nursing has a specially designed pin that represents that institution; nurses wear these pins on their uniform as a sign of their school pride. The Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences pin identifies the school and the University and contains the words, unity, identity and excellence, as well as the symbols of the winged Pegasus and the shield.
Doctoral, master’s and award ceremonies also held
Six Decker College students received doctor of philosophy in nursing degrees at Binghamton’s Doctoral Hooding Ceremony held at 3 p.m. May 18, in the Anderson Center’s Osterhout Concert Theater.
Graduates of Decker’s master’s-level programs were awarded their degrees during the Master’s Ceremony at 4:30 p.m. May 20, at the Events Center, which saw master’s degrees awarded to graduates from across the University. Decker awarded a Master of Science in Nursing and/or advanced certificate in nursing to 89 individuals. The college’s Master of Public Health program graduated 19 students; this is only the third cohort to graduate with MPH degrees.
Finally, two award ceremonies were May 20. Decker’s Division of Nursing presented its student awards at 10 a.m. in Watters Theater and Decker’s Division of Public Health held its awards ceremony at 1 p.m. in Academic Building A. Read the full article about these events.