Once students, now nurses: 2024 pinning ceremony

May 09, 2024
Newman University nursing class of 2024
Newman University nursing class of 2024

Seventeen graduates received their ceremonial nursing pins Thursday, May 9, marking the transition from student to professional nurse.

Nursing pinning ceremonies date back more than 130 years in the United States and celebrate students who complete their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Each pin is unique to the program and institution.

In 1984, the Newman pin was designed by the first graduating BSN class and depicts images of a cross and lamp. The cross symbolizes Christian heritage, while the lamp represents both the light of knowledge and long associated nursing symbol that references Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. 

Newman Nursing Pin
The Newman University Nursing Pin was created by the BSN class of 1984.

Director of Nursing Ashton Clarkson said nursing is considered one of the most difficult undergraduate degrees to earn, particularly with the quantity and difficulty of the exams, as well as the amount of knowledge required to carry out the job. 

“Whether one patient at a time, through individualized holistic care, or as a participant in developing policy, you will lead the way to quality and safe care,” said Clarkson. “You are prepared to transform society.”

Clarkson explained that Newman nursing students develop the skill set to problem solve creatively and the empathy needed to care for each patient.

“That’s exactly what’s going to allow us to change the big problems in the future,” Clarkson said.

2024 Distinguished BSN Graduate Award

In addition to the pinning, the ceremony also included the announcement of the Distinguished BSN Graduate Award. This award is given to a graduating nursing student with a minimum 3.5 cumulative grade point average who demonstrates an exceptional commitment to nursing and involvement in the Newman and greater Wichita communities.

Dean of the School of Healthcare Professions Tyrell and Dopps, Distinguished BSN Award winner.
Dean of the School of Healthcare Professions Tyrell and Dopps, Distinguished BSN Graduate Award winner.

The spring 2024 honor was bestowed upon Chandler Dopps.

Dopps was shocked to receive the award, but ultimately proud her hard work was recognized. It was a “wonderful gift” to complete her Newman experience with.

“I always knew about Newman because I’m from Wichita, but also one of our lifelong family friends is professor of nursing Nancy Lugo-Baez,” Dopps said with a smile. “She was even in the delivery room when I was born because she and my mom have been best friends since the sixth grade.”

Aside from this connection, Dopps’ experience as a Newman nursing student was particularly unique. She returned to school as a nontraditional student with two children then gave birth to her third child while in the program.

Lugo-Baez and Dopps
Lugo-Baez and Dopps

“Juggling being a full-time mom, health care worker and nursing student was one of the most challenging things I have done in my life,” Dopps said. “It was really hard. I knew I needed to prioritize my time in class. I did a lot of late night studying after the kids were in bed.”

From a young age, Dopps’ mom has told her she has a “servant’s heart.”

“I think it was always in my blood to be a nurse and care for others,” Dopps said.

Dopps is excited to start her new job with Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph Labor and Delivery following graduation. The best part, she said, is knowing Newman prepared her for what’s to come.

“Seeing the lack of lactation care we have in Wichita for new moms, there’s a huge need in our community and I would love to help fill that need,” she said.

Dopps’ desire to “fill the need” fits perfectly with the ASC (Adorers of the Blood of Christ) mission that Newman University is founded on.

Newman nursing professor Rachel Cheek, APRN, CNM, gives Dopps her ceremonial nursing pin.
Newman nursing professor Rachel Cheek, APRN, CNM, gives Dopps her ceremonial nursing pin.

I think it was always in my blood to be a nurse and care for others.

Ready to transform society, one patient at a time

Geri Tyrell, dean of the School of Healthcare Professions, shared a few final words with the graduating class and guests.

“Although today we officially recognize the soon-to-be nursing graduates, we also want to acknowledge the tremendous amount of support from family and friends,” Tyrell said. “They wouldn’t be here today without your help, love, generosity and support.”

Congratulations to the graduating nursing class! The Newman University BSN candidates for spring 2024 are:

  • Hannah Clifton
  • Chandler Dopps
  • Essie Juarez
  • Allena Kates
  • Hannah Lang
  • Megan McCormick
  • Karen Medina
  • Kiah Nesbitt
  • Abigail Nicholson
  • Jacqueline O’Donnell
  • Heather Ogbonna
  • Alexa Puerto
  • Allison Ramstack
  • Morgan Rink
  • Kelsey Shingler
  • Shayla Swope
  • Katherine Webster

View the full video recording of the spring 2024 Nursing Pinning Ceremony on Facebook.

Video: Nurse Pinning Ceremony

Earn a nursing degree from Newman University

Newman nursing students have the opportunity to gain real-world experience by participating in clinicals in the Wichita community.