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IGH School of Nursing Celebrates 1st Pandemic Graduating Class

"This really prepares us for the nursing field because not one day will be the same in nursing" - Tanisha Harris, class president.

June 23, 2020

It was a learning experience that the 129 students of the Isabella Graham Hart (IGH) School of Practical Nursing didn’t know they were applying for more than a year ago— pursuing a licensed practical nursing degree that would ultimately end up shifting to online learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 300 cars with graduates, friends and family packed into Rochester Regional Health’s Riedman campus in Irondequoit on Thursday night to celebrate IGH’s 55th commencement ceremony. It may not have looked like a traditional graduation celebration, as students donned their white nursing scrubs and posed for photos in masks and socially distanced, but it was certainly a night to remember.

“We put the work in and we’re finally here,” said class president and graduate Tanisha Harris. “Looking out and seeing my fellow classmates, I’m so overly proud of them. This really prepares us for the nursing field because not one day will be the same in nursing. We have to be ready at all times for change.”

Horns honked as attendees tuned into 103.3 FM to hear remarks from Eric Bieber, president and CEO of Rochester Regional Health; Deborah Stamps, director of the IGH School of Nursing; Kevin Casey, MD, president of Rochester General Hospital; and Kristin Opett, chief nursing officer at Rochester General Hospital.

“They are ready to work, they are committed, and many of them participated in COVID testing sites supporting the front-line teams along the way,” Stamps said.

Approximately 70 students will start working as graduate practical nurses as soon as Monday, Stamps added.

Highlights of the August 2020 graduating class

  • 1stever evening/weekend program
  • 90% retention of students
  • 67% African American
  • 5% Hispanic
  • 98% Honor Society members
  • 74% Employed after graduation
  • 68% pursuing RN after graduation
  • $240,000 plus for scholarships and grants
  • More than 70 students participated in COVID-19 testing sites combining for more than 340 hours worked
  • 1stclass to graduate during a pandemic

Congratulations to the Class of 2020!

The IGH School of Nursing is now accepting applications!

Learn More About the Isabella Graham Hart School of Practical Nursing

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