Every April in Augusta, Georgia a highly coveted green jacket has been awarded to the winner of the Master’s Golf Tournament. This tradition has been carried out annually for the last 80 years. The city of Barbourville and Union College started another tradition last Wednesday night 9/17/14. Not one jacket, but eighteen lab coats were awarded to the first class to enroll in the college’s School of Nursing and Health Sciences pre-licensure program. Pre-licensure means the students have completed all prerequisites to enter the two-year nursing program. At the end of the two years, they will be Registered Nurses.
Lorene Todd Putnam, Dean of the School of Nursing, spoke briefly of the years that the Board of Trustees, back end staff members, and “more people than you could count” had spent talking and planning to start this nursing program. She then said, “Then one day we all decided to just bite the bullet and start.”
Putnam went on to say, “What you see before you, is the first-ever class to enroll in our fully-accredited program. These 18 people are special to all of us, and I am so proud of them. I am also proud that we as a college and a community started this ball rolling way back in 2011.” She added as she addressed the crowded chapel, “In May 2016, I invite all of you back to this same location. We will be pinning the very first nursing class to graduate from Union. I hope we all are here.”
At the end of the ceremony, each new student was given an unlit candle to hold. All present nurses in the audience were asked to come up and light the (future nurses) candles. The torch had been passed.
The Benediction was given, family pictures were taken and then everyone was offered a tour of the school.