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Nursing and health graduates eager to disrupt the status quo


Family and friends seated in the audience watch the convocation ceremony taking place on the stage in front of them

Edson College held five ceremonies to celebrate the 781 students eligible to graduate this fall.

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December 16, 2022

The fall 2022 graduates from Arizona State University’s Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation are ready to make a difference in health care.

“Now we will fight for people who are unable to fight, we will identify problems that are hurting people and we will inspire others to paint an ethical vision of the world. There is nothing better than our profession,” said Jeeah Ko adding, “It’s our turn to save lives.”

Ko was one of five student speakers nominated by their peers to speak at their respective ceremonies. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in nursing. 

Rather than one large celebration, there were five intimate convocation ceremonies held throughout the day at the Student Pavillion on the Tempe campus. In total, 781 students were eligible to graduate. 

Three ceremonies were dedicated to students graduating with their Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN). One ceremony celebrated students in undergraduate health programs and another was just for graduate students. 

“This is a day for you to treasure as you transition from an Edson College student to an Edson College graduate,” said Associate Dean Katherine Kenny adding, “You have a legacy of learning and service that you’ll take with you.”

In addition to future nurses, this group of graduates includes health entrepreneurs, researchers and regulators. All of them prepared to disrupt the status quo and impact systems on day one.

“As we continue to champion for patient rights and advocate for community and global health issues that shape our society, let’s not forget to advocate for ourselves, for better pay, better working conditions and better staffing ratios, which are all important and essential to our physical, psychological and emotional health,” said Morris Gitonga.

Also a BSN graduate, Gitonga was selected as the speaker for his ceremony. In addition to reminding his fellow future nurses not to lose sight of themselves while caring for others, he also shared a bit of his background.

Gitonga immigrated to the U.S. nine years ago with a dream of bettering himself. He thanked his family and friends, some of whom were watching the livestream from Kenya for supporting him and helping him get to this point.

“My story is one of hope, inspiration, unlimited possibilities and believing in your dreams,” he said, adding later, “I challenged myself, and against all odds, I maneuvered through a difficult culture, financial constraints, social life and diverse society to make myself a better person.”

Gitonga, who eventually wants to become a nurse practitioner, also recognized Edson College for the excellent education and experience provided.

Many of these graduates spent at least part of their time at ASU navigating a global pandemic and their homework. Dean and ASU Chief Wellness Officer Judith Karshmer acknowledged that difficult balance and shared some of the lessons revealed from the experience she hopes they’ll carry with them as they head out into the world.

“We have learned that our well-being is an essential part of who we are and a key component of any success,” she said. “We have learned that we need to focus beyond just physical health to include our emotional and mental health, as well as the health of our communities.” 

All five ceremonies were recorded and are available to watch on the ASU Live channel. 

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