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Milligan nurses honored at pinning ceremony on May 7

MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. (May 6, 2015) — Milligan College’s nursing graduates will be initiated into the professional practice of nursing through a unique and highly symbolic pinning ceremony on Thursday, May 7, at 6 p.m. in Milligan’s Mary B. Martin Auditorium in Seeger Chapel. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

The college’s nursing area will honor 51 students by blessing their hands, awarding them the nursing pin and lighting the nursing lamp at the ceremony, which is a time-honored tradition, not only at Milligan, but in nursing programs around the world.

“Milligan’s nursing program has a strong tradition of graduating caring healthcare professionals, and this ceremony is meant to be their official initiation into the professional practice of nursing,” said Dr. Melinda Collins, associate dean of the School of Sciences and Allied Health and chair of the nursing area. “When worn by our graduates, the Milligan Nursing Pin serves as a symbol of our graduates’ high-quality education, skill, nursing experience and desire to be Christian servant leaders.”

The modern pinning ceremony dates back to the 1860’s, when Florence Nightingale was awarded the Red Cross of St. George in recognition for her tireless service to the injured during the Crimean War. Nightingale established the first scientifically-based nursing school—the Nightingale School of Nursing at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London.

The blessing of the graduates’ hands is a tradition more specific to Milligan’s pinning ceremony and seeks to emphasize the humanity and societal interconnectedness inherent to the profession.

“When the faculty blesses the graduates’ hands it expresses their desire for the graduate to be directed and supported by God throughout their lifetime of nursing practice,” said Collins.

The lighting of the nursing lamp also has its origins with Nightingale’s work in the Crimean War. Oil lamps were the only source of light nurses had during the night to care for their patients. Today, the Nightingale Lamp is an insignia of nursing education.

“The lighting of the lamp symbolizes, most importantly, our graduates’ role in the ongoing fulfillment of the mission of Milligan College, to honor God through their servant leadership by letting their light shine throughout all the world.”

For more information on the college’s area of nursing, call 423.461.8655.

Milligan will graduate its largest class in recent history at two ceremonies to be held in the Mary B. Martin Auditorium on Friday, May 8, at 7 p.m. (graduate and professional studies programs) and on Saturday, May 9, at 2 p.m. (traditional undergraduate programs).

A complete schedule of graduation activities is available online at www.milligan.edu/commencement or by calling 423.461.8681.


MILLIGAN UNIVERSITY is a Christian liberal arts university in Northeast Tennessee whose vision is to change lives and shape culture through a commitment to servant leadership. The university offers more than 100 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in a variety of fields, along with graduate and adult degree completion programs.  To learn more about Milligan University, visit www.milligan.edu or call 800-262-8337.

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