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Pitt Nursing Celebrates the Class of 2022 and the Class of 2020

Pitt Nursing celebrated the Class of 2022 and the Class of 2020 at its Spring Graduation and Pinning Ceremony at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on April 29.

Remarks were offered by Jaqueline Dunbar-Jacob, Dean and Distinguished Service Professor of Nursing and Anantha Shekhar, MD, PhD, Senior Vice Chancellor for the Health Sciences, John and Gertrude Petersen Dean, School of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Patrick Gallagher and Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor Ann Cudd both recorded video messages for graduates.

In addition, students from both the undergraduate and graduate programs presented their own congratulatory remarks to their peers: BSN graduate Haley Marie Marra (Pittsburgh campus); Charles David Mazon (BSN graduate from the Greensburg campus); Cameron Roxby (BSN graduate from the Johnstown campus); Bailey Hunter Daftary (Accelerated Second Degree BSN graduate); and DNP student Huan Mwana. Lauren Nicole Herazo, BSN ’20 presented remarks on behalf of the Class of 2020. 

The keynote address was given by Tamra Minnier (BSN ’84, MSN ‘85), RN, FACHE, FAAN who currently serves as Chief Quality Officer at UPMC.

Nursing’s Spring Graduation Ceremony included two very special and long-lived traditions – pinning and the Passing of the Light. Pinning marks the successful completion of undergraduate studies and symbolizes welcoming the new graduates into the nursing profession. The Passing of the Light ritual features outstanding students from the previous year acting as Keepers of the Light and passing the light (representing the light of nursing and the core values gained at the School of Nursing) to the next generation.  The 2021 Keeper of the Lights were Anni Shaffer and Jennifer Stemler; the pair led the ceremony, passing on the light of nursing knowledge to the 2022 Keepers, Melissa Anne Lacellotti (Pittsburgh campus), Charles Mazon (Greensburg campus), Lexington Meder (Johnstown campus) and Alexandra Tolassi (Pittsburgh campus).

In addition to celebrating the newest alumni graduates, Pitt Nursing presented several awards to the graduating students, recognizing their accomplishments and endeavors as well as their commitment to efforts that go beyond coursework requirements:

  • Clare Stansbury -- Undergraduate Outstanding Community Service Award
  • Alexandra Tolassi – Undergraduate Outstanding Research Award
  • Melissa Lacellotti – Nursing Student Association Professionalism Award
  • Clare Stansbury – Nursing Student Association Leadership Award
  • Huan Mwana -- Graduate Nursing Student Association Award

Pitt Nursing also recognized the accomplishments of some of our alumni. The success of the School of Nursing is a direct reflection of the achievements of our graduates and their contributions to the nursing profession.

  • Diane Hupp, DNP ’14, Distinguished Alumni Award
  • Bridget Olivia Howard, BSN ’96, Distinguished Practice Award
  • Dawndra Jones, DNP ’14, Distinguished Practice Award
  • Lora Burke, PhD ’97, Distinguished Research Award
  • Betty Braxter, PhD ’03, Distinguished Service Award
  • Marci Zsamboky, MSN ’94, Distinguished Teaching Excellence Award
  • Jill Demirci, BSN ’05, MSN ’10, PhD ’12, Outstanding Young Alumni Award
  • Latasha Kast, BSN ’11, MSN ’19, Outstanding Young Alumni Award
  • Jewish Healthcare Foundation, Honorary Alumni Award

The faculty, staff, and administration of the School of Nursing congratulates all those who celebrated with us at the 2022 Spring Graduation and Pinning Ceremony!