Belhaven School of Nursing Honors Inaugural Graduating Class


In the Fall of 2014, Belhaven University opened its doors to the first class of the newly formed School of Nursing. This month, the inaugural class received their diplomas and became the first graduates of the School of Nursing.

One of the traditions of nursing students is the pinning ceremony. Held the day before traditional commencement, the 13 graduates were honored in front of their friends, families and faculty members.

Consistent with tradition, the pin was designed collaboratively by the graduating seniors. The pin featured the lamp of knowledge as well as the university’s motto “To serve, not to be served.” Each graduate selected a significant person in their life to present their pin to them.

Additionally, individuals were honored with several awards for their work in the program. The Nightingale Award, named for the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, was given to Kathryn Perkins. The Spirit of Nursing award, given to a student who displays perseverance, compassion and a dedication to the nursing profession was awarded to Jason Copeland. The Outstanding Senior Nursing Student was presented to Kaley Wilcox. Chelsea Brunson was awarded the Nursing Clinical Excellence Award.

“We are very proud of the Nursing Class of 2016,” said Dr. Barbara Johnson, Dean of the School of Nursing.  “We pray God’s blessings on them as they prepare for their nursing licensure exams and then embark on their chosen career paths.”


The Blessing of the Hands

The Belhaven University School of Nursing held its first Blessing of the Hands Ceremony on September 25, 2014 in the Prayer Room.


The ceremony is a nursing tradition that is usually done before students begin their first clinical experience. It allows students an opportunity to consider the importance of finding balance between their caring hearts and hands and the provision of nursing care that occurs within a healthcare delivery system, which is complex and often unpredictable. It is a symbolic representation of how the hands should be used to deliver care and compassion and be a blessing to all that nurses encounter.

Dr. Barbara Johnson, Dean of Nursing, offered the opening prayer and introduction of guests. Dr. Seth Starkey, Director of Campus Ministries, spoke to the nursing students about the healing ministry of Jesus and how it relates to the practice of nursing. He iterated how faith in a loving and caring God was essential in order to handle the multitude of circumstances that caring for patients may present. Following the message, each nursing student and faculty extended both hands, palms up and Rev. Starkey gave the blessing.


Following the ceremony, each nursing student was presented white Testament Bibles from the Gideon’s International. It was truly a blessing to all.