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Pinning ceremony honors 59 spring nursing graduates

May 15, 2024

Nursing graduate being pinned with his nursing pin

During a May 9 ceremony harkening to the 12th century, the School of Nursing pinned its 59 spring graduates. The pinning ceremony was part of the university’s Spring 2024 graduation events that included its three commencement ceremonies on May 10. It also coincided with the annual recognition of National Nurses Week.

“Our graduates have endured a rigorous program that has prepared them to enter the nursing profession,” Dr. Tammy Condrey, RN, MSN, CNE, director of the School of Nursing, explained to those in attendance. To the graduates, she continued: “You are moving forward into a wonderful career where you will make a difference in people’s lives on a daily basis.”

The pinning ceremony is a time-honored tradition symbolizing nursing graduates’ entry into the profession. These pins signify the culmination of their dedication and hard work and serve as badges of pride for nurses throughout their careers. The tradition of nursing pins dates to the Maltese crosses awarded to caregivers during the Crusades. Its evolution into a symbol of nursing excellence honors Florence Nightingale’s Crimean War battlefield heroics and her influence on nursing after the war.

During the ceremony, the School of Nursing also presented individual awards to:

Kacy Fairris, recipient of the Outstanding BSN Graduate Award for consistently earning good grades, supporting the school’s Student Nursing Association, and serving her community.

Sidney McCafferty, recipient of the Sarah Angermuller Clinical Excellence Award. The award was established in honor of the beloved retired faculty member who epitomizes clinical nursing. Its recipient must reflect excellence in the clinical setting and is selected by the senior-level faculty. 

Emily Rivera, the recipient of the Community Service Award for contributing 46 hours of community service—the most among her classmates.

Don’ya Truesdale, recipient of the Lewis Garrard Davis Blanchard Memorial Award. It is a faculty-selected award bestowed on an outstanding BSN student. 

Group photo of the Spring 2024 nursing graduates

Spring 2024 nursing graduates

Headshot of Jerry "Pops" Barnes

The school dedicated the ceremony to the memory of 2001 nursing graduate, U.S. Army veteran and Columbus City Councilor Jerry “Pops” Barnes. Barnes died in April 2024.

“As an RN and city councilor, ‘Pops’ played an important role in improving the physical and mental health of our community,” Condrey said. “He was a great supporter of the School of Nursing and Columbus State University, and we will all miss him.”

Photos from the ceremony are available from the university’s Flickr account.


Based in Columbus State University’s College of Education & Health Professions, the School of Nursing offers undergraduate- and graduate-level nursing programs, including a BSN program; an RN-BSN program with on-campus and online options; an on-campus and online MSN program with Nurse Educator, Nurse Informaticist or Nurse Leader tracks; and an FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner) MSN program with both on-campus and online options.

With more than 10 faculty members, students enjoy a 15-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio. Students also benefit from activities hosted by the school’s National Student Nurses Association chapter and networking through the school’s Nursing Alumni Group.

Students interested in pursuing a nursing degree apply to the School of Nursing after completing 63 hours of the university’s core, health and STEM courses that complement the nursing plan of study. This is usually the semester before they begin their junior year. Admission also includes achieving minimum GPA requirements and completing required sections of the RN Admission Evolve Reach A2 Assessment Test. Once accepted, they receive specialized advising from the school’s staff.

The School of Nursing has full approval from the Georgia Board of Nursing and is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and many of its programs are ranked regionally and nationally for their affordability and academic rigor.

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Media contacts:
Michael Tullier, APR, Executive Director of Strategic Communication + Marketing, 706.507.8729,