WEST WINDSOR – One thing that graduates of the Mercer County Community College (MCCC) Nursing Education program can agree on is that the program wasn’t easy. But they would also agree that it was well worth it.
“In the end, what we have been taught takes us beyond education,” said Jeremie Williams, valedictorian of the MCCC Nursing class of May 2015. “Nursing is an art.”
Williams and 21 of his classmates received their diplomas during a pinning ceremony May 19 in front of a packed house in Kelsey Theatre that included family, friends, and faculty members. MCCC President Dr. Patricia C. Donohue told the graduates that of all her duties as president, participating in graduation ceremonies is “the fun part,” and congratulated them for a job well done.
“You chose a rigorous program and a difficult pathway,” Donohue said. “Tonight, this is your moment. I challenge all of you as you go to work as a nurse each day, to proudly wear the pin of Mercer County Community College.”
Dr. Eun-Woo Chang, MCCC’s Vice President for Academic Affairs, noted the importance of quality nurses to building a strong healthcare system within a community – and how strong healthcare systems build strong communities. He noted that at one point in his career, his family made a decision on where to relocate based on the quality of the healthcare system.
“I am sure you will be great ambassadors for Mercer County Community College,” Chang said.
In his valedictory address, Williams said he came to Mercer with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, but shifted his career goals when he had difficulty finding employment. He said he chose MCCC based on his mother’s experience, who was in a similar situation and enrolled in the Nursing program at Mercer.
Williams said that as his studies progressed, he gained a greater appreciation for a profession focused on helping others.
“Our patients are individuals who deserve to be treated with love and respect,” Williams said.
Director of Nursing Donna Penn presented the graduates with their pins, as Associate Professor Barbara Kunkel read the names of the candidates. Five graduates received special awards: Patricia Drozdz (The Helen Marie Dalton Award for Clinical Excellence), Virginia Doherty (The Clara Lidz Nursing Leadership Award), Joanna Godlewska (The Nightingale Award), Abraham Sherman (The MCCC Nursing Faculty Award), and Williams (The Academic Excellence Award).
“You have all worked very hard, and you should be very proud,” Penn said.
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