NEWS | June 14, 2013

UC Davis nursing school celebrates 2013 graduation


2013 Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership graduate Mercy Lubembe celebrates with family.

From the class representative to the keynote speaker at the 2013 Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing Graduation Celebration, the messages included a similar theme to the Master of Science in Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership graduates: Be the nurses who lead improvements in health care.

“You have studied how our health-care system does and does not work, and what our communities need to be as healthy as possible. You have honed your skills,” Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean Heather M. Young said to the graduates. “UC Davis prepared you to not only be part of these changing roles in health care, but to lead them.”

The 23 graduates received their degrees at the formal Office of Graduate Studies commencement on June 13 that included a presentation of more than 1,100 graduate degrees. The nursing school conducted a school-wide event the same day just prior to the commencement to celebrate the 23 graduates.

The theme of nurses leading change in health care continued throughout the ceremony as keynote speaker Associate Dean for Academics Deborah Ward encouraged the graduates to continue their work as nurses expressing care through their hands, but with the addition of a new element.

“You have done the work of hands – they have been the connection to your brains, and with them you have enacted your knowledge and intellect," Ward said.  "But now the hands will do even more... Hands that direct a team, persuade a legislature, shield the vulnerable on a scale larger than one. Hands that change the way we establish and promote health for our people."

Graduate Maya Vasquez, who was selected by her fellow students and the faculty as class speaker, agreed the new graduates were fully aware of the task before them.

“’We’ is greater than ‘you’ or ‘me;’ and to understand the future of nursing, and health care itself, we must understand both an individual and systems perspective,” she said.

Vasquez also announced the class raised more than $4,000 to go toward the dean’s lecture series as their first alumni gift. Their gift comes two years after the class presented an initial donation when they were first admitted. The class is the second group of nursing graduates to make such gifts at 100 percent participation both at enrollment and graduation.

Five students were recognized by nursing faculty with awards of excellence highlighting the school’s five core attributes:

  • Excellence in Leadership Development: Kimberly Higgins
  • Excellence in Interprofessional Education: Issa Sidibe
  • Excellence in Transformative Research: Christy Solorio
  • Excellence in Cultural Inclusiveness: Sergio Camarillo
  • Excellence in Innovative Technology: Anita Depatie

The graduation marks the school’s second graduation since the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing was established in 2009 and opened its doors in 2010. The school now boasts 48 alumni.

The Master of Science in Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Graduate Degree Programs are led by an interprofessional team of faculty from across UC Davis. Other program offerings include a doctoral program, for which the first graduates are expected in 2014, as well two new programs which open later this month: master’s-degree programs for nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Learn more at

About the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis
The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis was established in March 2009 through a $100 million commitment from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the nation's largest grant for nursing education. The vision of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing is to transform health care through nursing education and research. Through nursing leadership, the school discovers knowledge to advance health, improve quality of care and health outcomes, and inform health policy. The school's first programs, a doctoral and a master's degree program, opened in fall 2010. Additional students and programs will be phased in over the next decade. For more information, visit