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College Celebrates First Nursing Graduates to Earn Bachelors Degrees

May 7, 2013
The first class to graduate from the Cheshire Hospital School of Nursing (then the Elliot City Hospital) in 1895.
The first class to graduate from the Cheshire Hospital School of Nursing (then the Elliot City Hospital) in 1895.

First 17 Nursing Program Graduates Go Forth to Serve

Keene State College will mark the graduation of its first nursing class to earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) later this week. This is the first class of students ever to graduate from the Keene State Nursing Program with a Bachelor’s degree – a total of 17 students will graduate in May. A pinning ceremony to recognize these graduates will be held on Friday, May 10. The ceremony begins at 1pm in the Alumni Recital Hall at the Redfern Arts Center on Keene State College’s campus.

“This is a momentous occasion for Keene State College. This is the first nursing graduating class in Keene State’s history to have earned a Bachelor’s degree,” said Dr. Connelly. “The field of nursing holds enormous opportunity for our graduates today. These students have worked hard to gain the education they need to be competitive in future jobs, while learning what it means to care for people in need. This is a truly proud day for the College, our graduates and their families.”

During the ceremony, guest speaker Dr. Maureen Sroczynski, a national leader in nursing education and practice redesign, will speak to the students about bridging education and practice. Students will recite the Florence Nightingale Pledge, which is a modified "Hippocratic Oath" that was composed in 1893. Finally, students will be presented with nursing pins from Dr. Thomas Connelly, Director of Nursing at Keene State College. The nursing pin originated over 100 years ago as a representation of service. The Keene State College pin was designed by Dr. Connelly and modeled after the college seal.

Keene’s First Nursing School Grads

Back in 1893, the Elliot City Hospital, which occupied the current Elliot Center on the Keene State College campus, began its first nursing class. Members of that class, shown in the photo, graduated in 1895. Ninety-three years later, in 1986, the Cheshire Hospital School of Nursing closed the program after graduating its 91st class. That final graduation ceremony was held in Arts Center on Brickyard Pond. As the Keene Sentinel reported, "The auditorium was filled, and friends stood in the back to watch the 17 students receive their diplomas."