Parents are usually present at graduation ceremonies, but they do not usually receive degrees of their own.
On Monday, Kira Kuhn received her bachelor’s degree in nursing on the same day that her mother, Ivy, earned her nursing master’s degree.
The mother and daughter were only two of 326 students receiving Bachelors, Masters, and PhDs in Nursing during the Nursing school’s 120th commencement in the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall.
The ceremony also recognized the school’s first graduates in the new Nurse Anesthesia master’s program, which consisted of 14 students.
Afaf Meleis, the dean of the school of nursing, gave the opening remarks, telling graduates to remember that “there are three [traits] that guided you through your education: courage to take risks, passion, and voice.”
Meleis congratulated the graduates on accepting the challenges associated with pursuing careers in nursing.
“Choosing an education in nursing was not just any risk, it was the best kind of risk: calculated risk, with deep and multi-level rewards,” Meleis said.
It was a risk that paid off for all the graduates sitting in front of her waiting for their names to be called, who can now apply their knowledge to work in the nursing field.
BSN student Kennedy Gachiri, MSN student Shana Saeger and PhD student Deborah Sampson spoke representing their respective degree program.
The graduation address was given by Virginia Trotter Betts, who is commissioner of the Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities for the state of Tennessee and former president of the American Nurses Association.
Betts encouraged graduates to use their educations to promote the health of all people. She instructed them to “put the patient and the person at the center of the healthcare system.”
She also lauded the contributions of nurses to the healthcare industry, calling nursing “absolutely the most trustworthy profession.”