Spring graduates celebrate new beginnings with family and friends

The spring winds and the threat of rain were ignored by the 140 graduate and undergraduate students of Saint Luke’s College of Health Sciences who gathered with family and friends for commencement at the Community of Christ Auditorium in Independence, Missouri on Saturday evening, April 27, 2019. A bagpiper and drummer signaled the start of the ceremony while students carrying the American, State of Missouri, and College flags lead the processional of students, faculty and platform dignitaries down the central aisle to their places.
Mr. Tom Wagstaff, JD, was the keynote speaker sharing stories of nurses who go beyond just the delivery of skills and extend themselves to express deep caring for patients and families. Dr. Lucy Hood received the Barbara L. Kleist Distinguished Alumni Award, and Assistant Professor Diana Tilton was the recipient of the Isabel Curdy Teaching Excellence Award. Many student awards were given including Academic Excellence Award to BSN graduate Mary Catherine Crooks, BSN graduate Brittany Register received both the Clinical Excellence Award and the Professional Excellence Award, and BSN student Morgan Brennan received the Daisy Award for Extraordinary Nursing Students. Finally, the first associate degree student award was given to graduate Taylor Hall who received the Academic Excellence and Professionalism Award.
Diplomas were received, and photos were taken with President Benitez, BSN graduates were “pinned,” and finally the moment everyone was waiting for arrived, “Ladies and gentlemen, please help me congratulate these new graduates as they move their tassels!” A roar of clapping and cheering as everyone came to their feet celebrating and honoring the attainment of academic degrees by our graduates.
Then it was hugs with family and friends, gifts of flowers to smiling graduates, and photos and more photos. Another graduation ceremony ends, and new lives begin.