Members of Helene Fuld College of Nursings 2014 graduating class are among a special group. The 143 men and women are part of the schools largest graduating class ever, which included the first graduates of the colleges RN to BS degree program.
Helene Fuld President Wendy Robinson, RN, PhD, FNP-BC, was joined May 2 by board members and guests at Harlems First Corinthian Baptist Church to commemorate the event. Robinson expressed pride and enthusiasm for the graduates, but was particularly excited to address this class, which included a group of 22 RN-to-BS students.
Im especially proud to be bestowing the baccalaureate cohort, she said.
TV and film actor Boris Kodjoe delivered the commencement address.
I really wanted to be here today to celebrate you because you chose a path that has meant so much to me at various times throughout my life, he said.
Kodjoes mother was a night nurse, and he relayed stories of her hard work and dedication to patients. He also spoke of the nurse he encountered during the time he and his wife, actress Nicole Ari Parker, learned their first-born daughter had been diagnosed with spina bifida.
Kodjoe spoke of his and Parkers discouragement with a physician who wanted to wake their newborn daughter at 3 a.m. to administer powerful drugs without discussing it with them first. Kodjoe said he and the physician had words. The physician left and didnt come back.
But our nurse came back, he said. She turned the bright lights off, sat down and calmly explained to us the options we had to consider. She seemed to be there all the time. I asked if she had been home and she said she hadnt in four days. Nurse Diana wanted to make sure that we were OK.
The graduates also were addressed by Democratic New York State Sen. Charles Schumer, who told the graduates some of whom were foreign-born and/or the first in their families to graduate from college that people can come to the U.S. from anywhere, under any circumstances, and succeed.
Helene Fuld and our nurses symbolize that notion, he said. When I look into your faces and read about your accomplishments and see what youve done, I know that for you and your families, for New York and America, the best is yet to come.
Founded in 1945, the college offers a one-year LPN-to-RN associate degree program and began offering its RN-to-BS program in 2012.
Tracey Boyd is a regional reporter.