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Pinning Ceremony, Accolades End Spring Semester for College of Nursing Graduates

Twenty students from the University of Houston College of Nursing marked their graduation by participating in the traditional Pinning Ceremony.

Nursing program

A pinning ceremony is a rite of passage for nursing students that acknowledges the hard work that ends their academic journey and begins their new role as professionals. 

“The pinning ceremony is something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives,” said Kathryn Tart, professor and founding dean of the college. “All their studies and exams are over, and they’ve made it with the help of their professors, families and classmates. The pin we place on them marks this moment.”

Of the 20 students being honored, 10 completed graduate studies for careers as family nurse practitioners, nurse educators or nurse administrators, and 10 completed a Bachelor of Science in nursing. They were “pinned” by the College’s lead faculty.

Dean Tart acknowledged many students for their outstanding work.  Among them:

Outstanding service from a class representative:

  • Augustine Enehikhuere/ RN to BSN Program
  • Christina Gutierrez/ Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner

The Evidence-based Project Award, given in memory of Sugar Land resident Bernadette Blomstrom:

  • Cara Caldwell, Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner /”Active Gaming to Decrease Childhood Obesity”

The Evidence-based Project, People’s Choice Award

  • Ronit Gerecht, Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner / “ADHD Symptoms in Children Using Probiotics”

Academic Excellence in Undergraduate and Graduate students:

  • Barzilai Escalante, RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • Danielle Bragg, Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner

University of Houston Provost Paula Myrick Short served as the keynote speaker.  She urged the group to be leaders in their chosen field and mentors to the next generation of nursing professionals. At the conclusion of her remarks, Dean Tart presented Provost Short with a scholarship in her name.  A future student will be awarded the scholarship.

This is the first group of students to graduate from the newly renamed College of Nursing.  As such, students also participated in the University commencement exercises. 

The pin students received is unique to UH. At the center of the circular pin is a gray, interlocking UH that represents the student’s journey and partnership with the University of Houston and relationships along the way.  A red border inscribed with “University of Houston Nursing” represents passion, advocacy, love, caring and leadership—the values of UH Nursing.  Finally, a gray banner at the bottom indicates the degree the student has earned and the culmination of their studies. 

“Every nursing program throughout the nation has a unique pin.” Tart said. “It’s with pride that a graduate wears the pin as it indicates to patients and the public where the he or she earned their nursing degree. It is part of a tradition that nursing programs celebrate.”  

The pinning ceremony has its roots in the 12th century when monks treating those injured in battle were given crosses as a symbol of their vow to serve the sick.  In the 1860s Florence Nightingale was given the Red Cross of St. George in recognition of her service to the injured in the Crimean War. By the turn of the 20th century, the practice of awarding a nursing pin was standard for nursing school graduates.