Video by USM Multimedia Producer Zach Boyce
A sudden downpour couldn't dampen the spirits of more than 40 nursing students, their families, and USM faculty and staff, who gathered on Friday, August 21, for a drive-through pinning ceremony on the Gorham Campus.
In the first-of-its-kind ceremony for USM, students in individual vehicles formed a parade around the Gorham Campus and, one by one, drove up to stations in front of the Costello Sports Complex, where they received their pins, diplomas, and congratulations from USM President Glenn Cummings.
The students all completed an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, a fast-track degree program that allows qualified people with a bachelor’s degree or higher in another field to earn a B.S. in Nursing in only 15 months.
“These students have all been amazing and managed to finish their degrees during the uncertainty of COVID,” said Brenda Peterson, the associate dean of the School of Nursing.
The parade was led by class marshals Serena Wade and Lisa Hale. Wade is a native of North Haven, Maine. Hale, a Denver native, lives in Portsmouth, N.H.
For Hale, the unconventional pinning ceremony brought a sense of celebration and closure in a time of uncertainty.
“I am excited that we got to do something in person, even though we weren’t able to sit together and hug each other,” Hale said. “Being able to wave ‘bye’ to our professors in person and our friends was special.”
In her remarks as co-class marshall, Wade acknowledged the resilience of her classmates in achieving their degrees during the unprecedented challenges.
“We certainly weren’t dealt an easy road with the changes of the pandemic, but we all made the best of the situation at hand,” Wade said. “In some ways, I think it made us better communicators and stronger critical thinkers.”