U.S. Treasurer Marilynn Malerba, DNP, MPA, recalled the many hats she has worn – literally and figuratively – as a nurse, the Chief of the Mohegan Tribe, and in government leadership as she congratulated graduates of Cizik School of Nursing at UTHealth Houston during the 2023 commencement on May 11.
The ceremony took place at Smart Financial Centre in Sugar Land and honored students who graduated in the summer and fall of 2022 as well as those who completed their studies during the spring 2023 semester. The event celebrated:
- Five Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing graduates,
- 51 Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) graduates,
- 20 DNP in Nurse Anesthesia graduates,
- 188 Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) graduates,
- 37 students who completed post-graduate programs, and
- 372 Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) graduates.
Malerba, whose Mohegan name is Mutáwi Mutáhash (Many Hearts), previously enjoyed a long career in nursing, ultimately as the Director of Cariology at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, part of the Yale New Haven Health System in Connecticut. She is the first Native American to serve as U.S. Treasurer.
“The universe will be very grateful for all the hearts you touch in so many ways,” she told the graduates. “In our tradition, the diamond shape can open good medicine. You all are diamonds on the path of life.”
Malerba sees nursing as a journey, and one that provides ample preparation for leadership. She recalled her own nursing journey, illustrating it with descriptions of the different types of hats that nurses and nursing students were required to wear early in her career.
“Have a plan,” Malerba advised the students beginning or advancing their own journeys, “but don’t hold onto it so hard that you miss the biggest opportunity in your life.”
The ceremony began with the processional, followed by the national anthem sung by summer 2022 graduate Timothy Joya, BSN, RN. Vice Dean for Academic Affairs Cathy Rozmus, PhD, RN, FNAP, FAAN, greeted guests and introduced the faculty and other members of the stage party. Dean Diane Santa Maria, DrPH, MSN, RN, FAAN, offered opening remarks and presented degrees that were then were officially conferred by UTHealth Houston President Giuseppe N. Colasurdo, MD.
Representing the PARTNERS organization, board member Roberta Prazak, BSN, RN, congratulated students and explained the significance of the nursing pins, which were sponsored by PARTNERS and presented to all graduating BSN students.
Recognized as honored faculty were Associate Professor Myron Arnaud, DNP, CRNA, and Hildreth Eloi, DNP, RN, last year’s recipients of the John P. McGovern Teacher of the Year Awards for graduate and undergraduate faculty, respectively. Assistant Professor Peter Slivinski, DNP CRNA, and Professor Sandra Hanneman, PhD, RN, FAAN, were announced as winners of the awards for 2023.
In addition, Kala Christopherson, DNP, RN, FNPC, received the first DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nursing Faculty presented at Cizik School of Nursing. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Graduate Studies.
Kaylee Scanlin, graduating with her MSN on the Family Nurse Practitioner track, delivered the welcoming address, and DNP graduate Joshua Smart provided closing remarks.
You may view all candid photos taken at the ceremony, including hooding pictures for doctoral candidates, in this Flickr album.
(Banner image: U.S. Treasurer and Chief of the Mohegan Tribe Marilynn Malerba.)