AIC Nursing, PT, OT Graduates Prepare to Embark on Healthcare Careers
SPRINGFIELD — Twenty-eight new nurses from the American International College (AIC) class of 2023 are ready to answer the call and help address the region’s nursing shortage. After facing the challenges of the pandemic throughout their college journey, these graduates received their bachelor’s degree in nursing from AIC during the commencement ceremony at the MassMutual Center on May 13.
AIC’s commencement coincided with National Nurses Month, a celebration that honors the invaluable contributions made by the nation’s 4 million registered nurses. These graduates entered college at a time when the healthcare system underwent significant changes due to the pandemic. As they celebrate graduation, the demand for nurses continues to rise.
The day before graduation, the students took part in the nursing pinning ceremony held at the Esther B. Griswold Theatre on campus. This time-honored tradition, with roots dating back to the 12th century, symbolizes the entry of students into the nursing profession. Revered by many nurses as a cherished rite of passage, the ceremony often holds more significance for them than their school’s commencement.
During the ceremony, the students were presented with the AIC nursing pin, designed in 1987 by artist-in-residence Alvin Paige. The design symbolizes the college’s core principles, including its commitment to social justice. The pin features the name of the college and its motto, “post tenebras lux,” a Latin phrase that translates to “after darkness, light.” This message signifies the students’ transition into a new world through education.
The nursing graduates heard from class speaker Laura Moya Mejia, who expressed gratitude for the camaraderie shared among her classmates. “We have finally made it to the day we’ve dreamt of for so long,” said Moya Mejia, who gave birth to her second daughter during her junior year and acknowledged that it sometimes felt like graduation would never become a reality. However, “despite all of it, we realized we can adapt to anything.”
Guest faculty speaker Moira O’Shea reminded the graduates they are about to enter one of the most admired and respected professions. She encouraged them to continue their education throughout their careers, saying, “today does not mark the end of your education, but rather a new beginning. Embrace the passion you feel today, every day, and never forget why you chose this profession.”
In addition to nursing, AIC’s Division of Physical Therapy and Division of Occupational Therapy also honored their graduates with a pinning ceremony. Twenty-three master of science in occupational therapy graduates, one post-professional occupational therapy doctorate graduate, and 26 doctor of physical therapy graduates were awarded pins to commemorate their achievements.