Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing Pinning & Recognition Ceremony for Class of 2023

May 12, 2023
Pinning May 2023

In the spirit of commemorating the success of our 2023 graduates, Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) hosted its Pinning and Recognition Ceremony on May 12, 2023 at 1:30 p.m. at Sunnyvale First Baptist Church in Sunnyvale, Texas.

“Congratulations Baylor nurses! As these amazing students now embark on their professional journey the administration, faculty, staff, and alumni of the LHSON are incredibly proud,” said Linda Plank, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, Dean, LHSON. “Currently, we have 1,521 nursing students through our in person and online programs. From these students 596 of them are undergraduate students, while the remaining 867 are in our graduate programs. This number does not even include our 311 pre-nursing students who are still at Baylor in Waco. We hope to have each of them here with us at the end of their two years in Waco. Finally, we have 86 Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) students, 22 of which are graduating today.”

Speaking of the CRNA students, this was LHSON’s third year to be joined by members of the United States Army. The U.S. Army Graduate Program in Anesthesia Nursing also known by its acronym USAGPAN is one of many Army-Baylor programs. This Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) program is three years in length, with graduates testing for certification as a CRNA. LHSON is in academic partnership with USAGPAN and admitted its first Cohort in the summer of 2018.

Highlighting the day, the LHSON shared several special recognitions. The Learn.Lead.Serve. Award was presented by Dean Plank to two students who most exemplified the core mission of the Baylor LHSON, Timi Tope-Ojo, Traditional BSN and Michael Karr, FastBacc®. The second recognition included the 2022-2023 Student Daisy Awards presented to the following recipients: Emily Haskell, Traditional BSN; Edith Romano, FastBacc®; Tatianna Abeni, BSN-DNP; Sharon Quigley, Post-MSN-DNP; Alissa Stinnett, ENL and Alexandria Scheide, USAGPAN. Dr. Plank also awarded the 2022-2023 Faculty Daisy Award winner to Professor Karen Holub.

Additionally, an award was given to the students who presented the most Outstanding DNP Projects. The winners were: Tatianna Abeni, BSN-DNP, for her project, “Improving Colorectoral Cancer Screening at Vulnerable Populations: Quality Improvement Project” and USAGPAN student Major Melissa McKinny, for her project: “Development of a Pediatric Pain Protocol for Musculoskeletal Injuries in the Emergency Department.”

The next awards were sponsored by the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology Foundation. The first award was the Program Administrator’s Outstanding Student Scholarly Project Award and was given to the research team of Major Melissa McKinney, BSN & First Lieutenant LeeAnn Sperling, BSN.

Congratulations also to two graduates who were recognized by Baylor University Honors College at the annual Academic Honors Convocation. The nursing students selected for this prestigious honor were Emily Haskell, BSN and Julianna Kuntz, DABSN.

Further recognition included students with the Highest Ranking GPA for the Spring 2023 Graduating Class (Traditional & FastBacc ®). Congratulations to Payton Avaritt, Traditional student, with a nursing school GPA of 3.91 and Quinlan Duncan, FastBacc® student with a nursing school GPA of 3.89. Additionally, in the USAGPAN program, eleven of the students had 4.0's and the student with the highest class rank and best overall GPA percentage was Krystle Garcia

During this festive occasion, nursing students received their nursing school pin and cords prior to Baylor University Commencement in Waco. Each pin is distinctive; and for the nurse, it also symbolizes honorable completion of a rigorous and physically demanding nursing program. The cords signify membership into Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society and for the Baylor Student Nurses Association.

The presentation of Undergraduate pins were presented by Dr. Beth Hultquist, Clinical Associate Program and Graduate pins and hoods were presented by Dr. Deborah Shirey, Associate Dean for Online Graduate Program & Clinical Associate Professor. In addition, USAGPAN pins and hood were presented by LTC Richelle Demotica, USAGPAN Deputy Director and COL Steven Kertes, Program Director, USAPAN. Class addresses were given by Oluwatimileh Tope-Ojo, Michael Karr, Berkley Ginithan and Krystle Garcia

The ceremony offered a Blessing of the Hands given by Preston Byrd, MDiv., BA, LHSON. The special message represented the blessing of our nurses to be the hands of Jesus to bring comfort and healing to those they care for, and a dedication to a ministry of caring. The memorable day concluded with a group of graduating seniors who led the audience in singing “That Good Old Baylor Line.”

About Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing
The Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) located in Dallas, Texas, was established in 1909 as a diploma program within Baylor Hospital in Dallas, which is now Baylor Scott & White Health’s Baylor University Medical Center, and in 1950 became one of the six degree-granting schools of Baylor University. The first Baccalaureate degrees were granted in 1952, establishing the School among the earliest baccalaureate nursing programs in Texas. In 1999, the School was renamed the Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing after Louise Herrington Ornelas, a 1992 Baylor Alumna Honoris Causa, who made an endowment gift to the School. The LHSON offers Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees through Traditional, FastBacc® (one-year accelerated) and Distance Accelerated BSN programs. Plus, the LHSON offers an online Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program with tracks that include Family Nurse Practitioner, Nurse-Midwifery, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Executive Nurse Leadership and U.S. Army Anesthesia Nursing (USAGPAN). U.S. News & World Report 2023 Best Undergraduate Nursing Programs ranked the LHSON No. 39. In addition, U.S. News & World Report 2024 Best Graduate Schools rankings list several LHSON programs, including the DNP program at No. 66 nationally and “Best Nursing” specialty rankings for LHSON’s USAGPAN, which operates at the U.S. Army Medical Center of Excellence at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, at No. 8 nationally, and Baylor’s Nurse-Midwifery program, which is No. 21 in the nation. To learn more visit