Nursing Students Recognized at Opening Convocation Ceremony

The University of Rochester School of Nursing welcomed new and returning students and recognized some of its leading scholars at its convocation on Sept. 5.

More than 175 students and faculty packed the auditorium in Helen Wood Hall for the official event kicking off the 2017-18 academic year. They were greeted with welcome speeches from UR President and CEO Joel Seligman, Medical Center CEO and Dean of the School of Medicine and Dentistry Mark B. Taubman, MD, and School of Nursing Dean and URMC Vice President Kathy Rideout, EdD, PPCNP-BC, FNAP.

Seligman, in an emotional address, reflected on the loss of a close friend’s adult daughter and stressed the tremendous impact that nurses and health professionals have on the lives of patients and their families. “You have a chance to touch human lives in a way that few other people do,” he said. He also praised the School of Nursing’s commitment to achieving a truly diverse student body, and by extension, nursing workforce.

“From my perspective, we want the best people to be our nurses,” he said. “Gender should never be an issue, nationality should never be an issue, immigrant status should never be an issue, sexual orientation should never be an issue. We simply want the best.”

“I’m very proud of the overwhelming diversity of our students in race, ethnicity, gender, faith, sexual orientation, culture, and learning abilities,” said Rideout. “It’s important for us to not only appreciate the diversity of our classmates, faculty, and colleagues, but to really learn from and about each other. Whether you’re preparing to be clinicians, health care leaders, or scientists, understanding and enjoying the differences we all have is critical.”

Sheniece Griffin

Sheniece Griffin, a student in the clinical nurse leader program, was honored with the Michele Unger Award at convocation.

Lydia Rotondo, DNP, RN, CNS, associate dean for education and student affairs in the School of Nursing, presented six awards to returning undergraduate and graduate students. The winners were:

  • Kathyrine Resurreccion, an APNN student, who was awarded the Clare Dennison Prize for outstanding proficiency in general nursing care.
  • Christina Dopp, a student in the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program, who was honored with the Eleanor Hall Award as an outstanding master’s degree student.
  • Dillon Dzikowicz, who received the Loretta C. Ford Fellowship, given to a student entering the doctoral program in nursing who demonstrates the highest potential for academic and professional success.
  • Jahaira Capellen, winner of the Jill Thayer Award, presented to the doctoral student whose research demonstrates a commitment to personalizing or enhancing access to health care.
  • Denise Burgen, who was awarded the George Spencer Terry Jr. B’49 Fund in Nursing Entrepreneurship, given to a graduate student to support the design of innovative approaches to improve patient outcomes.
  • Sheniece Griffin, a student in the clinical nurse leader program, who was honored with the Michele Unger Leadership Award.
Thomas Welter

Thomas Welter smiles during introductions of the newest cohort of students in the Accelerated Program for Non-Nurses.

Earlier in the day, the School of Nursing welcomed its newest cohort of students to the Accelerated Bachelor’s Program for Non-Nurses. The class of 66 is a rich mixture of students of different ages, background, and talents, representing more than a dozen states, as well as Canada, Ghana, Ukraine, China and Trinidad. Twenty-four percent of the class is male – more than two times the national average of men in the nursing workforce – and 23 percent come from underrepresented minority groups. The first courses in their 12-month program began on Sept. 7.