Graduation Celebration 2021

Welcome to the Class of 2021

Celebrate with us

#BadgerNurse #Classof2021 #UWGrad

“I hope you will feel inspiration knowing that YOU are a part of the most trusted profession in America and that YOU will have the opportunity to improve the health of individuals, communities, and populations throughout your career.”

Linda D. Scott, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FNAP, FAAN, Dean and Professor, UW–Madison School of Nursing

Announcement of Graduates


Congratulations Class of 2021 Award Recipients!

“Receiving this pin validates the hard work and perseverance it has taken me to get where I am. I’m honored to join other UW-Madison nursing alumni and celebrate all our accomplishments together!”

Mariah Larson TBSN'21

Undergraduate degrees

Graduate degrees

#Classof2021 #BadgerNurses

Congratulations Class of 2021

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Remarks from the Nurses Alumni Organization

Congratulations to all our 2021 graduates! The Nurses Alumni Organization, or “NAO,” of which you are all members as graduates of UW–Madison School of Nursing. First of all, we would like you all to take your dominant hand to your forehead; now swipe it across your forehead… whew! and if you are really feeling good about yourself, reach over and pat yourself on the back. We are certain many of you are feeling relieved and gratified to have completed this very important journey. It is a pleasure for us to welcome you as you head into the next phase of your lives as health care professionals, scholars, practitioners and hopefully, some of you as future teachers!

The NAO is open to all Badger graduates and here is the good news—membership is free! Our goal is to support activities that benefit nursing students at all levels in their educational preparation. Our primary function is to connect alums with each other through social and career enhancing functions and all our funds raised are given away each year in the form of scholarships. We hope that once the dust settles and you are immersed in whatever new role you are headed for, that you will consider becoming involved in NAO activities, either by attending one of our functions, mentoring new-to-practice graduates and when possible, providing financial support to our school.  The SoN website does have a section devoted to NAO activities and we encourage you to check us out!

We believe it is truly a great time to be a nurse. There are positions and settings to work in and populations to work with that were never imagined even 10 years ago. Every day, society is privileged to observe nurses who are doing amazing and meaningful work—some who are 22 years old and some who are 100 years old. What we hope is that you will look back on the years you spent here… well, maybe not now, and understand the privilege of being a UW–Madison graduate. As Badger nurses ourselves, we are certain that you are prepared to address complex health problems in innovative ways, strive to improve health outcomes and will continue to challenge yourselves to be lifelong learners, clinicians, and researchers. Again, congratulations. On behalf of the Nurses Alumni Organization, we welcome you to our organization. Please keep in touch.

Remarks from the Class of 1971

Congratulations, Class of 2021! You’ve made it through four years of rigorous preparation for a nursing career that has been a central part of our lives for the past 50 years. You’ve accomplished this amid a global pandemic, demands for social justice, and a period of extreme political polarization.

Our years at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, 1968-1971, were also times of fear, political turmoil, and social unrest and violence in the streets. We remember bearing witness to the Civil Rights Movement, assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, and experiencing the National Guard and police in riot gear on campus. We also can’t forget the bombing of Sterling Hall. These issues added significant stress during our nursing education as they have added to yours. However, navigating these issues also provided opportunities for growth and personal development. Nursing’s holistic philosophy of body, mind, and spirit demands personal exploration of these domains. The societal issues we’ve navigated during our respective nursing educational experience provided a unique context for this self-reflection.

We, the Class of 1971, are confident that you will carry this personal exploration and philosophy forward into your nursing careers. You will be better human beings and compassionate nurses for having endured these tumultuous times and embraced these existential issues during your nursing education.

We have compiled a list of short words of wisdom we’ve gained over 50 years:

  • Nurses are change agents.
  • Stand by your actions when you are confident in your knowledge base and experience.
  • Never be afraid to ask for assistance when you need it.
  • Develop collegial relationships with all levels of care providers—from nursing assistants to physicians. Everyone has a part to play in providing comprehensive care to patients, and, generally, the RN is the glue that holds it all together!
  • Encourage active participation in decision making by providing the education that patients need to weigh the pros/cons of treatment options. Things are rarely black or white and there is seldom only one option to achieve a goal.
  • When physicians have exhausted treatments to offer a patient, nurses are still able to give individualized care and emotional support.
  • Two words to eliminate from your vocabulary when working: NEVER and ALWAYS.
  • Be flexible, change is a constant.
  • Take time to listen to your patient, to your co-workers, and to yourself.
  • Be a lifelong learner. The science of medicine/nursing/pharmaceuticals is constantly growing. You can’t know everything, but you can always go back to the literature.
  • Participate in professional organizations. The networking and support opportunities that they provide are invaluable.
  • Mentor the next generation of nurses; you have wisdom to share.

You have the tools and abilities to accomplish your dreams. Go forth and sort the wheat from the chaff. We wish you all the best as you graduate and hope that you can look back 50 years from now and be as proud of your alma mater and the preparation you received as we are.

—Members of the UW–Madison School of Nursing Class of 1971: Barbara Brown, Lauren Glass, Linda Hurwitz, Constance Keyes, Patricia Mehring, and Lynne O’Donnell

“Nursing is like no other field. It is an art, a science, a practice, and, for some, a calling. We have seen what has come, what might come, and I have no doubt that we, as Badger nurses, will rise to meet what's next.”

Noor Bontz BSN@Home '21

Undergraduate Speakers

Susan Maloney, Traditional BSN
Amanda Husk, Accelerated BSN
Noor Bontz, BSN@Home

Graduate Speakers

Jennifer Kowalkowski, PhD
Elisha Smith
Elisha Smith, DNP