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SBU awards 145 nursing and health science degrees

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Nearly 150 students graduated from the Mercy College of Nursing and Health Sciences of Southwest Baptist University during a commencement ceremony Thursday, Dec. 17, at Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Springfield.

Degrees awarded included 85 associate of science in nursing (ASN), 58 bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) and two health science degrees.

Highlights of the ceremony include:

  • Brenna Stanley of Wheatland, ASN graduate, sang “Forever Young” by Bob Dylan.
  • Elizabeth Day of Marionville, ASN graduate, was the commencement speaker.
  • Renee Bentley of Springfield, ASN graduate, led ASN graduates in the Florence Nightingale Pledge, a professional mission statement that reflects the vision and values of nursing and invokes the many professional rights and responsibilities of the practicing nurse.
  • Lisa Person, vice president and chief nurse executive of Mercy Hospital, lead the Blessing of Hands, a tradition that was started several years ago as a way of asking God’s anointing on graduates as they embark on, or continue the practice of the nursing profession.

Academic awards presented to ASN students include:

  • Alyce Smart and Wongell Mengiste, both of Springfield — “Highest Academic Recognition” award, which is given to the student in each fourth semester nursing course with the highest course grade.
  • Emily Dobson of Willard and Katy Finch of Springfield — “Recognition for Clinical Excellence” award, given to the student in each fourth semester course who best meets the clinical course objectives in an exemplary manner.
  • Renee Bentley of Springfield — “Florence Nightingale Award,” awarded based on leadership, professionalism and self-directed learning and is voted on by the entire ASN faculty.

Academic awards presented to BSN students include:

  • Laura L. Smith of Springfield — “The Judy Mitchell Christian Walk Award,” given to a student who exemplifies the Christian walk in both personal and professional life.
  • Cheryl D. Shultz of Springfield — “The D’Wayne and Venita Eldridge Highest BSN Academic Achievement Award,” given to the student with the highest institutional GPA in the graduating class.
  • Valorie A. Packingham of Springfield and Karyn J. Mitchell of Republic — “BSN Clinical Excellence Award,” given to students who demonstrated persistence, dedication and excellence in BSN clinical experiences.
  • Brittany N. Connell of Marshfield — “BNS Leadership Award,” given to a student who has demonstrated exemplary leadership qualities throughout BSN courses.

Master of science in nursing graduates will be recognized during the Graduate Commencement ceremony on the Bolivar campus in May.

Mercy College of Nursing and Health Sciences of SBU offers a master’s degree in nursing, bachelor degrees in nursing and health sciences, and associate degrees in nursing, radiography and health sciences. For more information, go to or call (417) 820-2069.