Cocoa student Meredith Willis is pinned by Stephen Heglund. Photo: Santiago Studios
Cocoa student Amanda Truman is pinned by her nursing instructor Stephen Heglund. Photo: Santiago Studios

The College of Nursing is celebrating its Class of 2009 summer graduates on Friday, August 7, at its traditional recognition ceremony.

The graduating class includes:

The college hosts its traditional recognition ceremony at the end of each semester to coincide with the university’s commencement ceremonies. Graduate students are draped with an apricot-colored hood, the color symbolizing nursing, while undergraduate students are pinned to celebrate their passage into the nursing profession.

The practice of hooding at graduation ceremonies has medieval origins. Wearing a hood was traditionally associated with having superior knowledge. Throughout the Middle Ages, hooding became a symbol of earning a higher degree.

The length of the hood is indicative of the degree attained. The color of the hood’s velvet edging represents the field in which the degree was earned.

The nursing pin dates back to the Crusades in Europe when knights provided service to others. The earliest ancestor of the pin, the Maltese Cross, was worn on the tunic placed over a knight’s armor.

In 1855, Queen Victoria presented Florence Nightingale, the revered mother of modern nursing, with the Cross of St. George in recognition of the care she provided British soldiers. Today, the pin uniquely represents the institution from which undergraduate students obtained their nursing degrees and is worn proudly on their nursing uniforms after graduation.