Posted on Sep 27, 2013

Summer 2013 Graduates Celebrate Milestone

Summer 2013 Graduates Celebrate Milestone

This semester the University of South Florida College of Nursing graduated a total of  233 students including 2 Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP), 9 PhDs in Nursing, 70 Master’s of Science (MS), and 152 Bachelor’s of Science (BS).

University of South Florida College of Nursing

At the University of South Florida College of Nursing Summer 2013 Pinning Ceremony featuring the Alumni Path of Light, August 9, 2013,  Dianne Morrison-Beedy, PhD, RN, WHNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP, FAAN, senior associate vice president of USF Health and dean of the College of Nursing, welcomed alumni, faculty, family and friends who were celebrating an incredible milestone in the graduates’  journey of lifelong learning as health professionals. The Pinning Ceremony is a nursing tradition which marks the transition of baccalaureate graduates from students to professional nurses.

University of South Florida College of Nursing

Many of the students graduated with University honors: 27 Cum Laude, 31 Magna Cum Laude and 12 Summa Cum Laude. Additionally, 1 student, Kathryn Bishop, earning the highest honors of Summa Cum Laude, has been chosen by the USF Alumni Association to receive the King O’Neal Scholars Award at commencement for graduating with an outstanding 4.0 GPA. Exemplar students were also recognized with several awards including Academic Excellence, Capstone Award, Clinical Excellence Award, Evidence Based Practice Award, Leadership Award, Service Award, Spirit of Nursing Award, and Quality & Safety Award. In addition, graduating baccalaureate nursing students that are military veterans, ROTC cadets, or currently serving in the armed forces or reserves, were presented with a USF College of Nursing Challenge Coin.

University of South Florida College of Nursing

University of South Florida College of Nursing
(Left to Right). USF President Dr. Judy Genshaft and Nursing Dean Dianne Morrison-Beedy during the Alumni Path of Light Ceremony

At the USF Commencement Ceremony recognizing graduate students from all colleges of the university on Saturday, August 10, 2013, baccalaureate nursing student Falon Blessing received the University of South Florida Summer 2013 Alumni Association Outstanding Graduate Award and was honored as a special guest at USF Commencement, seated onstage with the distinguished platform party during the ceremony. SF President, Judy Genshaft, and the USF Alumni Association recognize one graduating senior student each semester with the prestigious award acknowledging their exceptional achievements in leadership, community service, work experience, and school spirit while completing their degree at USF.

Nursing student, Falon Blessing, honored with USF Alumni Associa

Blessing majored in nursing with a minor in public health and stayed involved on campus, in the local community, and abroad. Blessing has served as a Green and Gold Guide giving tours on campus, on the board for the Honors College of Student Council, the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement’s Emerging Leader Institute, the Florida Student Nurse Association, secretary for the USF Scuba Club and a member of the College of Nursing Student Council. Abroad, she participated in a “Passport to Europe” course in Germany through the Honors College, and spent a month in India to study the healthcare system through the National Gilman Scholarship.

“While there, I was able to gain an understanding of the health challenges facing that part of the world,” Blessing said. “I have a passion for travel and would like to use my knowledge and skills to volunteer abroad in less-developed countries.”

In addition to this Outstanding Graduate Award, Blessing received several other awards including the National Gilman Award, the USF Golden Bull Award, and the USF College of Nursing’s Community Service Award for her work with the Circle of Love Children’s Grief Center, Big Brothers/Big Sisters and LifePath Hospice.

“The art and science of becoming a nurse has taught me to be brave and embrace the outer boundaries of my comfort zone in order to achieve my optimum potential,” Blessing said. “On any given clinical day, a student nurse never knows what kind of situation he or she is walking into. The result of this dynamic learning environment yields an individual who is adaptable and resilient—characteristics that are essential for success both personally as well as professionally. I look forward to applying the skills and values I have gained at the CON to improve healthcare and contribute to nursing as a profession.”

Blessing will continue her academic journey as a Bull Nurse pursuing her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree at USF College of Nursing.

For more stories on the USF College of Nursing Pinning visit our News Page here.

For information about USF Commencement visit

To see more photos from the Summer 2013 Pinning Ceremony and more visit the official USF College of Nursing Facebook Page!

The official Facebook page of the College of Nursing, part of USF Health, at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FL.