COA celebrates 50 years of nursing program at pinning ceremony

COA celebrates 50 years of nursing program at pinning ceremony

May 23rd, 2023

Graduates of the 2023 Associate Degree Nursing (A.D.N.) Program received their pins at College of The Albemarle’s (COA) annual pinning ceremony on May 9 in the Performing Arts Center at COA – Elizabeth City.  

This year’s pinning ceremony included the presentation of pins, the lighting of the Nightingale Lamps and the reciting of the International Council of Nurses’ Pledge.  Additional highlights this year to celebrate 50 years of Associate Degree Nursing  included Wilma Harris, our featured speaker, and a reception displaying photos and  memorabilia from the program’s history. 

Wilma Harris, one of the first A.D.N. faculty members, shared a detailed history of the  program dating back to its inception in 1971. Harris led the effort for the program to  receive accreditation from the National League for Nursing. She served the College’s nursing programs from 1970 to 1997 as an instructor, assistant professor, program  coordinator, associate professor, department chair and professor. Harris was named  COA Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty in 1997, serving until her retirement in 2000.  

Harris’ remarks at the pinning focused on the “buildings and builders” of the Associate  Degree Nursing program. She carried the graduates and those attending the event on a  “walk down memory lane,” reflecting on the earliest physical locations of the program as  well as those who committed themselves to the educational foundations that set the  trajectory for success that we continue to experience today.  

“From the initial classroom on Water Street to its various locations at COA – Elizabeth City, the program, now housed in the Zack D. Owens Health Center, has sustained the  strong foundations and steadfast support established long ago,” said Robin Harris, COA  Dean, Health Sciences and Wellness Programs. “Although the A.D.N. program is based  at COA – Elizabeth City, COA offers a variety of nursing classes throughout our service  area. College of The Albemarle is proud of our rich tradition of educating and training  nurses for the past 50 years. We are embarking on a new Health Sciences Expansion Simulation Center that will provide state-of-the-art learning environments for students  and healthcare workers throughout the region. College of The Albemarle is honored to  be the leading health sciences education and training provider for our service area and  beyond.”

As part of the ceremony on May 9th, several A.D.N. students received esteemed recognition, awards and scholarships acknowledging academic excellence and  perseverance. 

Daria Russu received the Academic Excellence and Academic Recognition Award.  The Academic Excellence Award is presented to the student with the highest grade point average (GPA) during the A.D.N. Program. The Academic Recognition Award is given to  students who maintained a 3.5 GPA during their studies at COA. 

Nikki Myers received the Dr. L. Everett Sawyer Award. This award is presented to  students who display outstanding abilities in all facets of nursing. It was established in  1984 in memory of Dr. Sawyer, a loyal and generous friend of COA’s A.D.N.  Program. Recipients are selected by the A.D.N. faculty each year. 

The Dr. Zack D. Owens and Martha Anderson Owens Nursing Endowment Scholarship  was given to Olivia Boone, Ashlee Edwards, Kierston Hoover, Amanda Schwartz, Maria  Schwartz, Tierra Wallace Mason and Kristen Wilson. Scholarships are presented to  selected full-time nursing students who maintain a 2.5 GPA. Dr. Zack D. Owens, a  surgeon in Elizabeth City, and his wife, Martha Anderson Owens, a registered nurse,  formed a highly skilled medical team at Albemarle Hospital. In 1983, Dr. Owens  established the endowment to provide scholarship opportunities for nursing students. 

“College of The Albemarle congratulates the 2023 A.D.N. graduates,” shared COA  President Dr. Jack Bagwell. “They worked hard to meet the requirements of this  program, completing over 800 hours of clinical training, 768 classroom hours and 288  lab hours. Not only are we celebrating the graduates this year, but we are also  celebrating 50 years of Associate Degree Nursing at College of The Albemarle. This  program has consistently produced graduates who excel in their profession and who are  sought by area healthcare employers. COA is extremely proud of their accomplishments  and looks forward to their many contributions to our communities’ health care.”


Top (1st) row (l-r): Courtney Whitehurst, Chelsi Gregory, Ashlee Edwards, Julissa Valle, Caitlyn Bagley, Katelyn Mojarro, Raven Hankins, Amanda Schwartz 2nd row (l-r): Olivia Boone, Patrice Wall, Ashley Timmons, Daria Russu, Nikki Myers, Tierra Wallace Mason, Alison Cooke, Kristen Wilson
3rd row (l-r): Maria Schwartz, Katlyn Elmore, Dena Pettus, Kierston Hoover, Damaris Holloway, Jazmine Knieper, Amber Maxa, Breann Byrum
Bottom (4th) row (l-r): Abigail Conner, Kirsten Bundy
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