NEWS | June 15, 2012

Inaugural nursing program graduates participate in UC Davis commencement exercises


For the first time, 25 Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis students received Master of Science Degrees in Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership at the UC Davis Office of Graduate Studies Commencement Ceremony on June 14.

Prior to the formal graduation that included more than 600 graduates from 90 graduate degree programs, a school-wide celebration was conducted to honor the inaugural nursing graduates and recognize the school's founding visionaries.

inaugural graduation celebration
Graduate Keran Raju, middle, celebrates as the inaugural graduating class of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing is introduced.

"Today's commencement activities represent the beginning of the exponential impact on health you will make as the ripples from our school multiply - each in your own way," Heather M. Young, associate vice chancellor for nursing at UC Davis and founding dean of the School of Nursing, told the graduates. "You can now take your professional work to the next level as you start to influence the ripple that follows you - your colleagues, the people and programs you lead, the students you will teach."

Young said the first graduates perfectly exemplify the school's vision to prepare leaders who advance health, improve quality of care and develop bold system change.

"Those who will succeed in the future and make a difference are those who have their eyes on the bigger picture, are able to be nimble in understanding change and responding with creative solutions, and have the confidence to be bold and move forward," Young said. "You, our graduates, are equipped with those abilities and skills."

The Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Graduate Degree Programs, which include both a master's- and doctoral-degree program, is led by an interprofessional and interdisciplinary team of 42 UC Davis faculty including nursing, medicine, health informatics, public health, nutrition and statistics. The program prepares nurses for health-care leadership roles in a variety of settings and organizations. It also educates nurse faculty for community colleges and university levels.

At the first event, doctoral student Frances Patmon led a discussion with the school's founding visionaries. Former Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation leaders Ed Penhoet and Helen Kim, along with current and former UC Davis leaders Claire Pomeroy and Ann Bonham, spoke of the early collaborations that led to the school's launch. They also shared their wishes for the graduates.

"You are the first graduating class of this school. There will never be another first graduating class. You are it," Penhoet said. "The trail that you have blazed for the students who will come behind you is an enormous contribution to the school."

The school-wide celebration also included a presentation by the graduating students of nearly $5,000 to support a lecture series fund. The gift comes two years after an initial donation the students made with the inaugural doctoral class. Together, the inaugural classes raised nearly $50,000 to support an endowed scholarship fund when they first enrolled at the school in fall 2010.

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

  • Excellence in Leadership Development: Charles Johnston
  • Excellence in Interprofessional Education: Ren Bee
  • Excellence in Transformative Research: Jody Johnson
  • Excellence in Cultural Inclusiveness: Linda Luna
  • Excellence in Innovative Technology: Jennifer Mattice

For more information on the inaugural graduation, including photos and video highlights, visit the school's website 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. The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing is part of UC Davis Health System, an integrated, academic health system encompassing the UC Davis School of Medicine, the 619-bed-acute-care hospital and clinical services of UC Davis Medical Center and the 1000-member physician group known as the UC Davis Medical Group. For more information, visit