By Kris McBride
THATCHER, Ariz. — Eastern Arizona College honored 23 graduates and celebrated student success during the EAC Nursing Class of 2018 Pinning Ceremony held on Dec. 13. The pinning ceremony – a time-honored tradition founded by Florence Nightingale where graduate nurses are welcomed as incoming professionals – served to symbolize the second of three pillars EAC President Todd Haynie has chosen to guide his administration, namely, emphasizing student success.
“On behalf of the faculty and staff at EAC, I want to thank President Haynie and the Board of Trustees for helping tonight’s graduates achieve success through programs that prepare them for immediate entry into the job market,” stated EAC Director of Nursing, Carolyn McCormies.
At the beginning of the ceremony, McCormies briefly recognized Haynie’s inaugural year and reinforced his commitment to student success with a commemorative installment which read, “presented on behalf of all faculty and staff at EAC, and in support of continued excellence in the area of academic rigor, student service, and impeccable accreditation.”
President Haynie referenced the ceremony as a befitting event to honor continued excellence because earlier this year EAC’s Nursing Program was named a national Center of Excellence for student learning and professional development – the only college in Arizona, and one of only 16 in the nation – to receive this designation.
“Students are at the core of everything we do,” stated Haynie. “EAC’s amazing faculty and staff are committed to helping students achieve their goals – from our administration of justice program which helps students succeed in careers that safeguard lives, to our education program that prepares teachers to influence lives, and to our nursing program which teaches students how to save lives – EAC is committed to helping students achieve success from all walks of life.”
Throughout the pinning ceremony, graduates and family members wiped away tears as student accomplishments were recognized. At one point, graduates held candles, referencing the lamp Florence Nightingale used during nightly rounds giving personal care to wounded soldiers, and recited the Modern Nightingale Pledge, a statement of the principles and ethics of the nursing profession. “Nursing isn’t just a profession, it is a way of life,” stated McCormies. “There is no more worthwhile profession than yours, because you will save lives. This program is tough, and you’ve proven that you have what it takes to succeed.”
“EAC’s Nursing Program has changed my life,” stated EAC nursing graduate, Jovanka Garcia. “Since day one, the amazing faculty and staff, along with my fellow students, genuinely supported each other. It was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done, but looking back, I realize that we learned to take care of patients by taking care of each other.”
The highlight of the ceremony came when graduates were recognized as nursing professionals and received their nursing pins. It was a momentous and emotion-charged capstone as family and friends – small children, parents, grandparents, spouses, significant others, and best friends – made their way onto the stage to pin their graduates. “I was very proud and humbled,” stated Garcia. “It made all the hard work and sacrifice worthwhile.”
“Recognizing the pillars that President Haynie has identified to guide his administration at EAC events is so important,” stated McCormies. “It shows our mission in action, and how EAC helps our students achieve great success.”
To highlight their accumulative effect and showcase the concepts in action, President Haynie’s first pillar – honoring community engagement – was presented at EAC’s Festival of Carols earlier this year. His third and final pillar – financial stewardship – will be highlighted at an Alumni Association event to be held in May.