Genesee Community College Honors 48 Nursing Graduates

Forty-eight graduating nursing students were honored at Genesee Community College's twenty-seventh annual Capping and Pinning ceremony on Friday, May 21st, 2004. The event was held at the Batavia Campus Gymnasium at 7:30 p.m. before 700 guests. Graduates received Genesee Nursing program pins and stripes for their nurses' caps. The fifty-six students who recently completed their first year of the College's Nursing program received their nurses' caps in recognition of their achievements.

The Capping and Pinning ceremony is a tradition of nursing programs throughout the United States and abroad. During the ceremony, students speak about the ideals of the nursing profession and recall the compassionate and heroic service of nursing pioneers, such as Florence Nightingale. Newly-graduated nurses and nurses in the audience also recite the Nurse's pledge.

The majority of Genesee's graduates from the Class of 2004 will be working in Western New York health care facilities, according to Betty P. Lapp, Professor and Director of the College's Nursing program. Many have already accepted positions and will begin their employment immediately after graduation. "Nurses educated at Genesee Community College serve on the staffs in health care organizations across our community. Anyone who is ill or enters a local hospital or doctor's office will undoubtedly receive care from one of our graduates," Professor Lapp said.

In addition, she noted that health care is a constantly changing industry and nursing professionals provide essential services as well as offer a stabilizing force. "The nurse, as a member of the health care team, must wear many hats," she said. "The nurse must be a skilled practitioner, an effective case manager, a human relations expert, and a superb organizer. The demands upon nurses are great, but so are the rewards. The stature of the nursing profession has risen considerably in recent years and nurses receive great respect for the work they do and the roles they play each day."

Including the Class of 2004, exactly 1,435 students have graduated from Genesee's Nursing program since the first class of 15 nurses graduated in 1971. Genesee Community College is graduating its 33rd nursing class this year with the following graduates:

Holly Antochi RochesterSharon E. Hensel *LancasterCorrisa R. BakerBergenKatherine E. HowardGeneseoBrenda BaldufAtticaDawn R. Hungerford *LyndonvilleAmy Jo BarberWarsawUrsual D. IsaacBrockportGenia M. BestCorfuSarah B. JohnsonAtticaRonalda M. BlissBlissMichelle Rose JohnstonOakfieldMelissa BuchholzDaltonSonya JonesRochesterJulia BugbeeHolleyJulie A. MaskellElbaLeslie J. CalendarAtticaSandy Lyn McNultyCastileLoretta CorbittRochesterLaura MorganByronMichele L. CorkeKentBonnie L. NashLeRoyAngela CruzBataviaDawn M. PerlStrykersvilleKaren M. CummingsDarien CenterPaulette PfuntnerWaylandTricia L. DavisCaledoniaRobin K. RadderFranklinvilleSusan DiDomenicaSpencerportMelissa Rhodes *LyndonvilleRachel L. FoxStaffordRenee M. Robbins *BataviaLinda FrantzBataviaTiffany M. RoseHolleyElizabeth FusaniWarsawLaurie Ann RudayKentMelinda GibbsAlexanderAnna Marie SampelPavilionDeNae GibsonDansvilleStephanie SantiagoWyomingTatyana GolubevaHenriettaDana E. SchieVarysburgDawn GorrowByronAimee L. SchunkLeRoyJane E. HackettPavilionElaine R. St. JohnHamlinJune HaegeleBataviaKrista Jane UlropDansville

Several students received special awards and recognition for their accomplishments in the program over the last year:

•The Award of General Excellence, bestowed on a graduate who demonstrates exemplary performance in academic work and clinical practice, was presented to Tatyana Golubeva of Henrietta.•The Award for Clinical Nursing Proficiency, presented to a graduating nurse who excels in patient care, was awarded to June Haegele of Batavia. •The Nursing Leadership Award is presented to a graduate in recognition of outstanding leadership and professionalism. Elaine St. John of Hamlin was this year's recipient.•Last but certainly not least, Dawn Hungerford received a special award from the Visiting Nursing Association of Western New York for her life-saving efforts during a Community Health visit last September. While visiting a client with a registered VNA nurse, Ms. Hungerford performed the Heimlich procedure on the client's spouse and successfully dislodged a piece of toast. "Dawn is extremely competent, capable, and knowledgeable as a student. I have no doubt that she will be an excellent nurse and leader for the nursing profession," Margaret L. Rodak, RN, BSN of the VNA of WNY stated in a letter acknowledging the event.

A number of students in the two Nursing classes were recognized for their membership in Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for junior and community college students. Graduates who belong to PTK include Tricia Davis, Caledonia; Rachel Fox, Stafford; Elizabeth Fusani, Warsaw; Tatyana Golubeva, Henrietta; Jane Hackett, Pavilion; Jane Haegele, Batavia; Michelle Johnston, Oakfield; Sandy McNulty, Castile; Bonnie Nash, LeRoy; Laurie Ruday, Kent; and Aimee Schunk, LeRoy.

First year students who belong to PTK include: Judith Arntz, Castile; Catherine Barnes, Churchville; Krista Brown, Bliss; Tina Gerhardt, Medina; Dawn Lee, LeRoy; Rosemary Lynch, Churchville; and Christine Peters, Bergen.

At the beginning of the Capping and Pinning ceremony, each member of the graduating class passes a lighted candle to a member of the first year class, symbolizing the passing of knowledge. First year students, in turn, present congratulatory roses to graduates.

During the ceremony, DeNae Gibson spoke about the symbolic passing of knowledge, represented by the passing of the lighted candles. Renee Robbins spoke about the history of the stripe and pin. Anna Gommel, who completed her first year, spoke about the history of the nurse's cap.

Another interesting aspect of this Capping and Pinning Ceremony are four mother-daughter connections to the Genesee Community College's Nursing program with the 2004 Class. As indicated with an asterisk (*) on the above list, four graduating nurses are continuing a tradition in their families since their mothers are Genesee Community College Nursing alumni. Specifically, Sharon Fries-Hensel is the daughter-in-law of Nancy Hensel, Class of 2001; Dawn Hungerford is the daughter of Joanne Hafner, Class of 1994; Melissa Rhodes is the daughter of Nancy Rhodes Class of 1993; and Renee Robbins is the daughter of Sharon Robbins, Class of 1995. "We are particularly proud that many of our nurses continue the prideful tradition of the nursing professional in their families and in our community," Professor Lapp said.

President Stuart Steiner extended greetings and best wishes from the College community. Deaconess Pat Fletcher of the New Life Fellowship in Attica delivered the invocation and benediction.

For further information about the Capping and Pinning Ceremony or Genesee's renowned Nursing program, contact Professor Betty P. Lapp at 585-343-0055 x 6367 or go to