Big smiles, family and uplifting, encouraging messages accompanied this summer’s graduation ceremonies as 12 graduate and 58 undergraduate students gathered to celebrate the beginning of a new chapter in their lives at the BYU College of Nursing’s Summer Commencement Exercises last weekend.
Three students spoke during the ceremony, including John Rossi, who returned to BYU to finish his bachelor’s degree in nursing after serving for 10 years in the Navy as a helicopter rescue swimmer.
Rossi shared an experience he shared with a family who experienced the tragic loss of a loved who fell about 30 feet onto concrete. The distraught family huddled together in the ICU, mourning. Rossi felt impressed to hold their hands and sing church hymns with them. The experience taught Rossi the importance of not only nursing physical wounds, but emotional and spiritual wounds as well.
“Ours is a ministry of healing,” Rossi said. “We have had countless experiences…We have been emotionally, physically and academically challenged, but we have been blessed with strength from the Lord…I’m amazed at the strength you possess. Go and do amazing things.”
Kathryn Morrill, earning both her bachelor’s and master’s degree from BYU, made the dean’s list multiple times. Her inspiring words focused on the importance of relying on the Lord when practicing nursing.
On one occasion, Morrill was caring for a patient whose family was present. The family requested a priesthood blessing, which blessed the hands of the medical professionals. In that moment, Morrill realized that her hands were the ones being blessed. This epiphany brought to her remembrance something she learned from one of her mentors. “A wise professor told us to pray each morning for clarity,” she said.
Finally, Christine Platt, earning her master’s degree, addressed us about miracles. Sometime ago, Platt and her husband cared for a beaten child, who as a result was dumb, blind and immobile. Platt cared for the boy, who is now three years of age. Against all odds and with careful attention, love, and the grace of God, the three-year-old boy now sees, talks, walks, runs and plays.
“Our education, personal and professional, helps us serve our fellowmen,” Platt said.
To conclude the ceremony, Jean Bigelow, alumni board chair, and Dean Patricia Ravert, encouraged them to stay connected with the College of Nursing through social media and other modes of communication, expressing interest in their future success and endeavors.