Wegmans School of Nursing Celebrates its Graduates with Two Ceremonies, Twice the Fisher Love

May 6, 2021

During two ceremonies held on Thursday, May 6, the Wegmans School of Nursing conferred baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees on more than 300 St. John Fisher College graduates.

A graduate of the School of Nursing receives a diploma.

At both ceremonies, Dr. Marilyn Dollinger, professor and associate dean of the School, noted the historic time in which these graduates enter the nursing profession and urged them to make a difference—not just patient by patient—but also by changing inequities that exist in the current health care system.

“Remember, nurses are everywhere that care is given; every hour of every day. You are smart, motivated and highly skilled nurses.  By confronting the issues and challenging the barriers that keep you from providing the care you want to give, every one of you can make a difference,” she told the graduates. “It is not easy and it does not happen quickly. You have allies: your colleagues at work and in your professional nurses’ associations. This is how we use our ‘voice’ to make the system work for everyone.”

Graduate Taylor Fink offers remarks during the School of Nursing Commencement ceremony.

During the undergraduate ceremony, graduate Taylor Fink, who will join the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps at a naval hospital in Bremerton, Washington, offered remarks on behalf of the Class of 2021.

“Through our experience these past few years, we have all been put to the test—especially during recent times. Responding to COVID-19, battling racism and societal stigma, speaking up for the well-being of our planet, and addressing conflict within the community—these are all obstacles we face while trying to take notes about the pathophysiology of Pepto-Bismol on Zoom,” she said. “But we did it, we got through undergrad nursing. The world and all its problems remain our oyster.”

At the evening ceremony, Jacquelyn Charamut, a graduate of the master’s degree primary care family nurse practitioner program, spoke on behalf of the graduate and doctoral students. Noting the significant life changes many of her peers experienced during their time in the graduate programs, she gave her classmates one final assignment.

“I challenge you—the last challenge of graduate school—to take some time to think of everything you have sacrificed and accomplished in order to get to where you are right here, right now, and really soak in how proud we should be of ourselves and how great of an achievement this is,” she said. “Before we get wrapped up in studying for our boards and our next steps in our professions, take the time, whether it be a week or just a few minutes, to celebrate and enjoy this moment.”

A doctoral candidate is hooded during the School of Nursing ceremony.

In addition to receiving their diploma, the graduates of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program received their doctoral hoods.

As part of the Class of 2021 celebrations, the School also selected recipients of its annual academic awards, recognizing the following students for their accomplishments in and out of the classroom:

Undergraduate Awards

  • Clara H. Wagner Excellence in Clinical Practice Award: Kaitlyn M. Killino, Hannah Wihlen, and Hannah Adoreé Spoljari
  • Wegmans School of Nursing Undergraduate Award for Highest Undergraduate GPA: Taylor Jean Fink and Kara Lindsey Austin
  • Wegmans School of Nursing Undergraduate Award for Highest RN/BSN GPA: Olivia Rose Tripp and Melissa Ann Lathro
  • Wegmans School of Nursing RN/BSN Professional Practice Award: Danita Michele Man and Grace Wedesamah Baffoe Johnson

Graduate Awards

  • Bufano Counselor Excellence Award: Bailey Pilant
  • Kastberg Scholarly Achievement Award: Aubry Louise Ball
  • Master of Science in Advanced Practice Nursing Academic Excellence Award: Jacquelyn Nicole Charamut, Christina Marie Mattle, Kristen Ruth Resetar, Erika Carle, Stephanie A. Merica, Kathleen M. Noe, Kelsey Marie Hawkins-Rusch
  • Master of Science in Advanced Practice Nursing Distinguished Student Award: Megan Elizabeth Tehan, Andrew David Hynes, Kelsey Marie Hawkins-Rusch, Emily Marie Seabrook, Chelsea Claire Foster, Alexandra Strutt, Melanie Ann Keltz, Jaime Lynne Berger, Mary Carol Kretsch, Daniel Everett Horn
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice Academic Excellence and Scholarly Achievement Award: Alicia C. Ansbrow, Wendy Kim Hou
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice Clinical Practice Scholarship Award: Michael Lamont Peterson, Wendy Kim Hou