Class Photo

The countdown to Commencement

Campus buzzed with excitement in the days leading up to Commencement on Saturday, May 5. In a quick several hours, Tate Lawn would be full of Lees-McRae community members, family and friends cheering on their graduates as they crossed the stage to receive their degree.

The Commencement ceremony, however, is just the capstone to several exciting events throughout campus.

Nursing induction ceremony

Events began Friday, May 4, at 10 a.m. with the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society Induction at the May School of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Founded in 1922 by six nurses in Indianapolis, Indiana, STTI has over 500 chapters with more than 135,000 active members across 90 countries. The mission of STTI is to advance world health and celebrate nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership and service.

Fifteen total Lees-McRae nursing students were inducted into the prestigious honor society that invites only those students in the top third of their class.

The event began with Director of the Pre-licensure Nursing Program, Evelyn Brewer, presenting her research titled “Nursing in Appalachia.” The quick ceremony concluded with the nursing students in attendance receiving their STTI purple tassel, and as one, reading the STTI oath.

Starting at 11:30 a.m., all seniors were invited to gather at the Alumni House for the Senior Celebration Brunch. Hosted by the Lees-McRae Alumni Association, seniors arrived in groups to celebrate and receive their senior gift of leather portfolio folders with the Lees-McRae logo. While there, students and alumni mingled and networked.

Commencement practice

After the Senior Celebration Brunch, students descended to Tate Lawn to practice a full run of the Commencement program. The students stirred in their seats as the realization washed over them that in less than 24 hours, they would become a graduate of Lees-McRae.

Before enjoying a meal at MacDonald Dining Hall for the Baccalaureate Dinner, a select group of students were invited to be inducted into the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society in Evans Auditorium. Founded in 1922, Alpha Chi was established to recognize outstanding academic achievement. With chapters at 300 college campuses around the U.S., Alpha Chi invites only the top ten percent of students in junior and senior classes.

Alpha Chi Induction

This year’s inductees were Tori Anderson, Kathy Arriola, Amanda Bates, Ericah Beason, Taylor Fluette, Melissa Kirchner, Emily Linville, Alec Molander, Johnsie Potts, Lara Leigh Shaffell, Rebekah Smith, Jared Snell, Whitley Starnes, Dakota Tittle, Nikki Torres, Christa Tumminello, Rebecca Willis, and Jayne Yocum.

Each student also selected a distinguished faculty mentor, who was also recognized during the induction ceremony.

Just before the traditional Baccalaureate Service, the seniors, in their graduation garb, gathered on the steps of the North Carolina building. Laughing and enjoying the moment, friends and teammates wrapped arms around one another before smiling for their senior class photo.

Still dressed in their graduation gowns and with hoods in hand, the group of seniors and their onlooking family and friends headed to Hayes Auditorium for the Baccalaureate Service. A special tradition for graduates and their families, the event was a night full of prayer, speeches from graduate-nominated faculty and staff as well as a hooding ceremony led by Michael Hannah, associate professor of theatre arts.

For the senior nursing students on campus, the day wasn’t over quite yet.

At 8 p.m., the May School of Nursing and Health Sciences hosted graduates, family and faculty for the third annual Pinning Ceremony. The ceremony was a night dedicated to honoring and celebrating the accomplishments of the students and their academic journey. One-by-one, graduate nurses were pinned by a faculty member to celebrate their commitment to the profession of nursing.

The night began with remarks from graduates who shared both their struggles and lessons learned throughout the years in pursuit of their nursing degree. At the end of the ceremony, all students and faculty were asked to recite a pledge to commemorate Florence Nightingale’s history of helping wounded soldiers by candlelight.

See more photos from the lead up to Commencement here

By Nina MastandreaMay 07, 2018
AcademicsOnline LearningAlumni