“Imagine you’ve been trudging up a mountain, and finally you reach the top and see the view — you’re there. You’ve reached your destination.” To senior nursing major Kati Flannagin, this is what the nursing class “graduation,” the nursing pinning ceremony, means. This year the pinning ceremony will take place on Thursday, May 2, at 2 p.m. in Stratton Hall.

Miss Cynthia McGuire, chair of the Division of Nursing and Health Science, said the ceremony is a traditional end of the nursing program, welcoming the graduates into the nursing profession. “It’s a very special and poignant time,” McGuire said. Both the faculty and graduates feel a mixture of sadness to leave friendships behind, but also excitement for the move into the nursing profession.

Dr. David Fisher, provost of the University, will begin the ceremony with some opening comments. Senior Taylor Nanney, president of the nursing class and the University Nursing Association, will address the class, and following him, Dr. Bob Jones III will give the pinning address.

According to McGuire, each nursing graduate then receives a pin that represents the University and a Florence Nightingale lamp. “It’s the culmination of what you’ve worked for the past four years, but it’s more than that,” Flannagin said. Both the pin and lamp have a special significance to the nursing profession.

Years ago, nurses used to wear white uniforms along with a pin representing which school they had attended. McGuire said here at BJU the nursing pin has the BJU crest on it and is designed as a cross to represent the ministry of Christ and the Gospel.

Florence Nightingale, a nurse during the Crimean War in the 1850s, was well known for visiting her patients at night. This earned her the title of “lady with a lamp.” She began nursing education and many other nursing traditions, like improving hospital sanitation, that have been carried on.

After receiving their pins and lamps, the graduates form a line and light their lamps before singing their class song, “I Run to Christ.” Next they recite their pledge in which the graduates promise to advance the nursing profession by serving God with their lives and serving the patients entrusted to their care.

Flannagin said the ceremony is special because the nursing graduates share it with classmates, family and friends. She described receiving the pin as the capstone of the nursing students’ college journey. “It’s the end of one journey, but the beginning of another one,” she said.

Forty-eight nursing students will graduate this year, making the class the second largest graduating nursing class ever at BJU.

“[The pinning ceremony] is the University’s way of showcasing the biggest major on campus,” McGuire said. “It’s a very personal graduation.”