Female graduate sitting in a crow at graduation

A Look Back at Graduation: Celebrating the Class of 2024

Friends and family of the Class of 2024, faculty, and staff gathered at The Armory on May 14, 2024, to celebrate graduation.  

In her welcoming remarks, Columbia Nursing Dean Lorraine Frazier, PhD, said: “I would like to open this year’s graduation ceremony by bringing us back to nursing’s core values of human dignity, integrity, autonomy, altruism, and social justice, which have always guided us as we navigate tumultuous times.”  

Katrina Armstrong, MD, dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, underscored the power of nursing in her greeting. “If you look at any community in need across the globe, the health care professional who makes everything happen is the nurse,” she said. “You are at the bedside delivering comfort and care, and you are in our communities, educating and building trust with our patients … This class of graduates represents the remarkable breadth and depth of the nursing profession, which has never been more important or valued than it is today.” 

Ann Kurth, PhD, the president of the New York Academy of Medicine and the first nurse to serve in this position, received the Second Century Award, presented since 1991 for excellence in advancing the health and well-being of all citizens. As nurses, Kurth told the audience, “We want the world to be better, and we work towards that, with pragmatism, with partnership, and with positivity. This is core to our profession. There is always something that can be done, whether we agree on every specific strategy or not, to try to alleviate suffering, prevent disease, support the body, mind, and spirit of all who need it. And that’s all of us, at different times of life.” 

Keeping up with—and ahead of—technology in health care will be key for the Class of 2024, noted Alumni Association Speaker Felesia Bowen, DNP ’10, the associate dean for diversity, equity and Inclusion at the University of Alabama School of Nursing in Birmingham. “Don’t be afraid of AI and other innovations, they are here to stay. Be that nurse who figures out how to harness the power of this technology to improve patient outcomes and the health and well-being of nurses”, she said.  

Student speaker Judith Hilda Gil, MS ’24, urged her fellow graduates to reflect on their experience at the nursing school as they waited to receive their diplomas: “Our journey at Columbia Nursing has been nothing short of transformative, and as we stand on the cusp of graduation, it's essential to pause and acknowledge the significance of this moment.” 

Graduation 2024 by the Numbers 

In the 2024 academic year, a total of 347 students are expected to graduate from Columbia Nursing programs, including:   

  • 6 PhD 
  • 128 DNP (28 Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP, 1 Adult-Gerontology Primary Care NP, 35 Family NP, 13 Midwifery, 19 Pediatric Primary Care NP, 32 Psychiatric Mental Health NP) 
  • 213 MS (30 Advanced Clinical Management and Leadership, 183 MDE) 

Student Awards 

Kylie Kelleher Dougherty, PhD ’24, received the Dissertation Excellence Award, presented by the faculty for distinguished doctoral student research. 

Morgan Krolikowski, DNP ’24, and Bella O’Neill, DNP ’24, received the Anna C. Maxwell Award, presented to graduates of the adult-gerontology, family, or pediatric primary care nurse practitioner program who exhibit compassion, competence, and commitment to the provision of highest quality primary care.  

Mobolaji Odewole, DNP ’24, received the Anne Penland Award, presented to an outstanding graduate of the nurse anesthesia or adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner program who best demonstrates qualities of academic excellence, clinical proficiency, and empathy for patients.  

 Maiya Guillory, DNP ’24, received the Mary Dickey Lindsay ’45 Award, given to a nurse midwifery graduate who best exemplifies leadership qualities that will promote midwifery diversity and access to midwifery care for all women.  

Lex Constantinides received the Mary Bleecker Simmons ’60 Award, presented to the graduate who demonstrates compassion and devotion to the mental health needs of patients. 

Melissa Leo received the Faculty Award for Professional Excellence in a Subspecialty, given to a student who best exemplifies professional competence, capacity for leadership, and compassion for patients.  

Sidalie Elizabeth Hicks, MS ‘24, received the Mary Masterson Germain ’64 Award, presented to a graduate of the Advanced Clinical Management and Leadership Program who demonstrates academic excellence, capacity for leadership, and dedication to the highest possible care for patients and families.  

Arriel Powell and Cynthia Tiangco-Withers received the Margaret Eliot Award, presented to graduating nursing students who best demonstrate professional competence, capacity for leadership, and wholehearted compassion for patients.  

Daniella Topol was honored by the Alpha Zeta Chapter of Sigma, the international honor society for nursing, as the graduating student who best exemplifies the principles of Sigma: leadership, scholarship, and community service.  

Ian William West received the Campbell Award, presented by the Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) to a graduating student at each school who shows exceptional leadership and Columbia spirit as exemplified by Bill Campbell, ’62CC, ’64TC, chair emeritus, University Trustees, and CAA co-founder.