College of The Albemarle holds Associate Degree nursing pinning, celebrates 50 years

College of The Albemarle holds Associate Degree nursing pinning, celebrates 50 years

Graduates of the 2023 Associate Degree Nursing (A.D.N.) Program received their pins at College of The Albemarle’s (COA) annual pinning ceremony on Tuesday, May 9, 2023, in the Performing Arts Center at COA – Elizabeth City.

This year’s pinning ceremony included the presentation of pins, the lighting of the Nightingale Lamps and the reciting of the International Council of Nurses’ Pledge. Additional highlights this year to celebrate 50 years of Associate Degree Nursing included Wilma Harris, our featured speaker, and a reception displaying photos and memorabilia from the program’s history.

Wilma Harris, one of the first A.D.N. faculty members, shared a detailed history of the program dating back to its inception in 1971.  Harris led the effort for the program to receive accreditation from the National League for Nursing.  She served the College’s nursing programs from 1970 to 1997 as an instructor, assistant professor, program coordinator, associate professor, department chair and professor.  Harris was named COA Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty in 1997, serving until her retirement in 2000.

Harris’ remarks at the pinning focused on the “buildings and builders” of the Associate Degree Nursing program.  She carried the graduates and those attending the event on a “walk down memory lane,” reflecting on the earliest physical locations of the program as well as those who committed themselves to the educational foundations that set the trajectory for success that we continue to experience today.

“From the initial classroom on Water Street to its various locations at COA – Elizabeth City, the program, now housed in the Zack D. Owens Health Center, has sustained the strong foundations and steadfast support established long ago,” said Robin Harris, COA Dean, Health Sciences and Wellness Programs.  “Although the A.D.N. program is based at COA – Elizabeth City, COA offers a variety of nursing classes throughout our service area.  College of The Albemarle is proud of our rich tradition of educating and training nurses for the past 50 years. We are embarking on a new Health Sciences Expansion Simulation Center that will provide state-of-the-art learning environments for students and healthcare workers throughout the region.  College of The Albemarle is honored to be the leading health sciences education and training provider for our service area and beyond.”

As part of the ceremony on May 9th, several A.D.N. students received esteemed recognition, awards and scholarships acknowledging academic excellence and perseverance.

Daria Russu received the Academic Excellence and Academic Recognition Award.

The Academic Excellence Award is presented to the student with the highest grade point average (GPA) during the A.D.N. Program. The Academic Recognition Award is given to students who maintained a 3.5 GPA during their studies at COA.  

Nikki Myers received the Dr. L. Everett Sawyer Award. This award is presented to students who display outstanding abilities in all facets of nursing.  It was established in 1984 in memory of Dr. Sawyer, a loyal and generous friend of COA’s A.D.N. Program.  Recipients are selected by the A.D.N. faculty each year.

The Dr. Zack D. Owens and Martha Anderson Owens Nursing Endowment Scholarship was given to Olivia Boone, Ashlee Edwards, Kierston Hoover, Amanda Schwartz, Maria Schwartz, Tierra Wallace Mason and Kristen Wilson.  Scholarships are presented to selected full-time nursing students who maintain a 2.5 GPA.  Dr. Zack D. Owens, a surgeon in Elizabeth City, and his wife, Martha Anderson Owens, a registered nurse, formed a highly skilled medical team at Albemarle Hospital.  In 1983, Dr. Owens established the endowment to provide scholarship opportunities for nursing students.

“College of The Albemarle congratulates the 2023 A.D.N. graduates,” shared COA President Dr. Jack Bagwell. “They worked hard to meet the requirements of this program, completing over 800 hours of clinical training, 768 classroom hours and 288 lab hours.  Not only are we celebrating the graduates this year, but we are also celebrating 50 years of Associate Degree Nursing at College of The Albemarle.  This program has consistently produced graduates who excel in their profession and who are sought by area healthcare employers. COA is extremely proud of their accomplishments and looks forward to their many contributions to our communities’ health care.”

Congratulations to the 2023 Associate Degree Nursing graduates: Caitlyn Bagley, Virginia Beach, VA; Olivia Boone, Pasquotank County; Kirsten Bundy, Camden County; Breann Byrum, Chowan County; Abigail Conner, Forsyth County; Alison Cooke, Chowan County; Ashlee Edwards, Gates County; Katlyn Elmore, Pasquotank County; Chelsi Gregory, Perquimans County; Raven Hankins, Pasquotank County; Damaris Holloway, Washington County; Kierston Hoover, Dare County; Jazmine Knieper, Dare County; Amber Maxa, Dare County; Katelyn Mojarro, Currituck County; Nikki Myers, Dare County; Dena Pettus, Pasquotank County; Daria Russu, Dare County; Amanda Schwartz, Camden County; Maria Schwartz, Camden County; Ashley Timmons, Pasquotank County; Julissa Valle, Dare County; Patrice Wall, Pasquotank County; Tierra Wallace Mason, Pasquotank County; Courtney Whitehurst, Pasquotank County; Kristen Wilson, Perquimans County.