USC Aiken Nurses Receive Pins

May 05, 2017

The University of South Carolina Aiken School of Nursing presented pins to its May graduates in a special ceremony hours before commencement. 

"As you step forward into your future, remember that being a nurse who pursues excellence is ‘a personal code of daily conduct.’ According to Earl Graves, 'excellence is a process, not some pinnacle you reach,'" Dr. Thayer McGahee told the nursing students.

"Pursuing excellence in nursing daily means that you strive to give better care today than yesterday and you allow each day to teach you something useful for tomorrow."

The USC Aiken Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing pin displays symbols specific to the university, thus providing an emphasis on the four-year degree attained by the graduate. 

After years of grueling course work, clinical experiences and preparations for state board exams, the students took time during the event to reflect on their USC Aiken experiences. 

"I'm pretty sure if we had been told that we would be learning new ways to do math, assess cranial nerves, recite the clotting cascade, differentiate true from false labor, write a research paper, or memorize the childhood immunization schedule, we may have changed our major," said Faith Hornsby who earned the Spirit of Caring Award.

The graduating students choose the recipient for this award.  Peers determine who among themselves has consistently displayed caring behaviors to patients and classmates.

"I also think that if we had been told that we would learn how to diagnose our friends, family, and even ourselves with mental health disorders -- oh yes, we did that -- that we may have skipped straight to level 6,” Hornsby added.

The students’ hard work culminates during this special USC Aiken tradition – an event just for the School of Nursing. 

Each year before nursing students graduate with their bachelor of science in nursing degrees but after receiving their coveted pins, they participate in a lamp lighting ceremony and recite the Florence Nightingale Pledge together.

Students light their candles to remind them of their famous predecessor, Florence Nightingale.  She was known as the "lady with the lamp."  During the Crimean War in 1884, Nightingale was known for making her rounds along hospital corridors alone, with a little lamp in her hand.  In keeping with this tradition, USC Aiken nurses light their "lamps of caring and hope" just prior to graduation.

Afterward, they take the Florence Nightingale Pledge.  Together, the students vow to devote themselves to the welfare of their patients.

As part of this traditional Pacer ceremony, the students selected one School of Nursing faculty member to receive the Lamp of Learning Award.  Dr. Lisa Simmons earned it this year.

"Our class chose someone who always has her office door open to the student body. She is willing to listen at any time to concerns, achievements, complaints," said Caysie Cantrell who presented the award.

"One thing I adore about her is her motherly presence. When she found a group of us in the hallway crying, she did not ask any questions, she just hugged us. She believed in us when we didn’t believe in ourselves.

"She reminded us that even the best nurses need to be cared for sometimes."


The following students received their nursing pins:


Aleisa Baksh*

Caysie Cantrell

Matthew Deren

Ifeoluwa Ekundayo*

Jennifer Farrer, RN

Delicia Gibson

Brooke Hess*

Faith Hornsby*

Rhomteen Houshair*

Megann Howard*

Roel Isip

Lillie Jackson

Alexus Johnson

Kyle Johnson

Destiny Kirkland

Wayne Lockamy

Sydney Marshall*

Lee Anne Newberry*

Emmanuella Otabor*

Kimberly Proctor

Amanda Rawl

Ashlyn Regan*

Alyssa Rosser

Courtney Scott

Justin Sims*

Megan Smits*

Satori Starks

Chad Swindell

Heather Tanner

Shelby Tasker*

Briana Wieneke

Tiffany Williams

T’Keyah Worthy

Briana Young*

Andrew Zimmerman*


*Nursing Honor Society



USC Aiken School of Nursing Honors


Spirit of Caring Award:  Faith Hornsby  


Current senior class representative and Student Nurses Association board members:

Caysie Cantrell

Andrew Zimmerman

Pi Lambda Chapter of the International Honor Society for Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International:

Aleisa Baksh

Efeoluwa Ekundayo

Brooke Hess

Faith Hornsby

Rhomteem Houshair

Megann Howard

Sydney Marshall

Lee Anne Newberry

Emmanuella Otabor

Ashlyn Regan

Justin Sims

Megan Smits

Shelby Tasker

Briana Young

Andrew Zimmerman


Chancellor’s medals for scholastic excellence:

Aleisa Baksh                                       Brooke Regan

Ifeoluwa Ekundayo                             Justin Sims

Brooke Hess                                       Megan Smits

Megann Howard                                 Chad Swindell

Sydney Marshall                                 Shelby Tasker

Lee Anne Newberry                            Briana Young

Emmanuella Otabor                            Andrew Zimmerman

Amanda Rawl


Clinical Excellence:  T’Keyah Worthy

Pi Lambda chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Leadership Award

Aleisa Baksh

Ifeoluwa Ekundayo

Emmanuella Otabor


The May 2017 Outstanding Generic BSN student:   Aleisa Baksh 


The May 2017 Outstanding RN-BSN student:  Jennifer Farrer

USC Aiken, a comprehensive university in the University of South Carolina system, offers undergraduate and master’s degrees to more than 3,500 students in 50 programs of study. USC Aiken is ranked the #1 public regional college in the South by U.S. News & World Report’s guide "America’s Best Colleges." The 2017 distinction marks USC Aiken’s 19th consecutive ranking among the top three in this category and its 12th time in first place.