Recognition Ceremonies Abound for USD Class of 2018

The University of San Diego hosted five separate Commencement ceremonies over the last few weeks, awarding some 2,400 bachelor, master's and doctoral degrees to deserving students. But those weren't the only chances for USD students to celebrate their degree accomplishment. Several organizations and programs shared in the end-of-year ritual to bid the class of 2018 a celebratory farewell.

2018: ROTC, BGrad, LCGrad, Pre-Health, Nursing

NROTC San Diego Commissioning Ceremony

Just days before the bulk of graduate schools and both undergraduate ceremonies were held May 26-27, a number of special events took place: There were 11 Toreros out of 34 members of the San Diego Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps who participated in the May 25 Commissioning Ceremony at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.

The newest Navy Ensigns are Elizabeth Barker, Jeffrey LaRocco, William Porter, Austin Schiff, Jeremy Shockley and Shearing Volkir. The newest Marines Second Lieutenants are Mackenzie Dulleck, Matt Hannula, Logan Owens, Tye Rodne and Shea Temple. Each member of these two groups will soon be reporting for their inaugural duties across the country.

Officers who attended San Diego State, UC San Diego, Point Loma Nazarene and California State University at San Marcos were also commissioned.

Black Graduate Recognition Ceremony

On the afternoon of May 25, the 10th annual Black Graduates Recognition Ceremony was held in the Joan B. Kroc Institute of Peace and Justice Theatre.

Hosted by Alanna Bledman and Jawara Mills and having the theme of "Ubuntu — I am who I am because of who we all are," a capacity crowd witnessed an amazing showcase of performances, inspirational and heartfelt speeches — Tiasha Rogers (undergraduate speaker) and Shanelle Watkins (graduate speaker) and 2017 School of Leadership and Education Sciences PhD recipient Douglas Luffborough (keynote speaker).

The annual Trailblazer Awards were given to Rogers (undergraduate), Tanisha Jean Martin (graduate), College of Arts and Sciences Assistant Dean Pauline Berryman Powell (administrator) and School of Leadership and Education Sciences Professor Dr. Christopher Newman (faculty).

From there, law, graduate, and undergraduate degree recipients were celebrated as each honoree came to the front of the stage with family, friends and supporters wearing their BSRC graduation stole for a photo and Bledman and Mills shared tidbits about each graduate.

Other elements of the ceremony included a short dance performance, the Rites of Passage offered by USD Public Safety Officer Milton Maples, closing remarks by Ashley Barton, EdD, who is the director of USD's Black Student Resource Center, and a moving benediction by Marc Adams, a minister with University Ministry.

Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science

USD's nursing school continued its graduation weekend tradition of hosting a convocation ceremony on campus just before students graduate. On May 25, the school had plenty to celebrate.

Late last week, USD Vice President and Provost, Dr. Gail F. Baker, made it official that Dr. Jane Georges, who has been a professor at USD since 1996, has been named as the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science's new dean, effective July 1. Georges has served as the interim dean of the school this past year following former Dean Sally Broz Hardin's decision to return to professor following her current sabbatical.

Thrilled by Baker's announcement, Georges expressed her desire to maintain the school as one that will always put its students first.

"I know it takes a lot of time and energy to give Nordstrom-level services to our students, but that's what we do and that's what brings them here. We are that place where if you really want a good nursing education, you'll come here."

Dr. Georges oversaw the convocation ceremony in Shiley Theatre where students received their graduation pins. Some 175 students graduated on May 26, including 33 new doctoral recipients (DNP and PhD) and master's degrees in health care informatics, MSN in health care informatics, primary care adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialist, clinical nurse leader, executive nurse leader, primary care family nurse practitioner, and psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner.

Pre-Health Graduates Reception

Students graduating in fields of science and health-related areas were recognized on May 25 following welcoming remarks by College of Arts and Sciences Dean, Dr. Noelle Norton, Alumni Relations Director Charles Bass and Office of Parent and Family Relations Director Renda Quinn.

Pre-health mentors and the Health Sciences Student Evaluation Committee were honored and then it was time to fete those in the class of 2018. Students and their faculty mentors were called up to learn more about what each student had done in their time at USD, both in the classroom and, specifically, in the community to gain experience. Many students are headed for medical school, some will do a gap year and others will be doing internships. Seventy-seven students had their accomplishments and their future plans addressed by Cassandra Gomez, MPH, USD's Director of Pre-Health Advising Services.

Latinx, Chicanx Graduation Ceremony

Shiley Theatre served as the place for undergraduate class of 2018 Latinx and Chicanx students to share thanks with family and friends and shed tears of joy at the realization of a wonderful accomplishment: earning a college degree.

The 23rd annual event, co-sponsored by MEChA, Alpha Pi Sigma and the United Front Multicultural Center, featured live music and dance performances, a keynote speech by Communication Studies Assistant Professor Dr. Antonieta Mercado and the presentation of beautiful, multi-colored graduation stoles to each USD graduating senior. Each graduate was given the microphone to express thanks to family, friends and supporters in both English and Spanish.

— Compiled by Ryan T. Blystone


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