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Phillips Beth Israel SON commencement both a farewell, a celebration

Friday August 8, 2014
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The recent 108th commencement of the Phillips Beth Israel School of Nursing, Manhattan, was far from the ordinary. The school’s dean and her longtime assistant announced their retirements before the event.

At the pinning ceremony the day before graduation, Dean Janet Mackin, RN, EdD, announced she is retiring after 14 years, as is her assistant Cynthia Hall, secretary to the dean, who has seen the school evolve over the past 43 years. Both were presented commemorative plaques by the PBISN Board at graduation, according to a news release.

Hall came to the stage to present the PBISN pin to her daughter, Michelle Hall, a member of the Class of 2014.

“My mother began working for the school the year I was born, and I am very happy that she could see me graduate as a nurse now before she retired,” said Michelle Hall, who previously earned a bachelor’s degree in theater arts from Brooklyn College, but decided to become a nurse.

“Do great things – large and small,” Susan Somerville, RN, MA, president, Mount Sinai Beth Israel, said as she addressed the Class of 2014. “Being a nurse prepared me for what I am doing today.”

Presiding over the awarding of diplomas on May 28 in Stern Auditorium of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai were Janet Green and Ruth Nerken, co-chairwomen of the PBISN board of trustees.

Valedictorian Rochel Kassirer, summa cum laude, received the Seymour J. Phillips Award for highest scholastic achievement. Elena Gorodnitskiy and Jacob A. Levy tied for salutatorian. They also achieved summa cum laude status, along with Mary Ann Buot, Patrick David Duignan and Sharon Hill.

With 115 receiving associate in applied science degrees through the traditional, ATOP (Thursday, Friday and Saturday), and evening programs, the number of graduates tied 2013 as one of the largest classes in the school’s 110-year history. PBISN recently was accredited as a baccalaureate-level college and will be offering an RN-to-BSN program beginning in the fall semester.

“Never stop learning – learn something every day,” Mary Walsh, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, CEN, senior vice president, patient care services and CNO, Mount Sinai Beth Israel, told the class.

Walsh, who now leads a patient care team of more than 2,000, recalled her days of making washcloths out of old bedsheets as a Bellevue nursing student.
“Find fulfillment and happiness in your career through education, experiences and role-modeling,” she said.

Carol P. Green, PBISN board member and daughter of the late Seymour J. Phillips in whose honor the school was named, traced the multi-generational involvement of her family with Beth Israel and the school. She invoked the memory of Rose M. Hauer, whose decades-long leadership as dean is her enduring legacy.
Levy was presented with two awards, the Rita Hillman Award and the Rose M. Hauer of the Alumni Association Award. The Hauer award also was awarded to Thomas Berens, who also won the Harry Bokow Award, and Michelle Rojas.

Other awards presented to students included the Libby Marcus Award, to Patrick Duignan; Barry Braseau Award, to Cecilia Choe; Dr. Chaim and Pearl Weiss Award, to Stephanie Mejia; Sherman and Paula Raskin Award, to Gemina Gates and Buot; Fannie and Charles Karpas Award, to Simone Bailey; Eileen Melnick Award, to Ronna Cea and Megan Winter; Annette Stauber Cohn Award, to Giovanni Salgado; Gerald Bokow Award, to Kaliym Howell; and the Dean’s Award for Professionalism, to Justine Omilig.

Associate Dean Lynn Rubenstein, RN, MA, announced the new members of the PBISN Honor Society. In addition to top honorees Kassirer, Gorodnitskiy, Levy, Buot, Duignan and Hill, also inducted were Michael McGrann, Margaret Anne O’Connor, Nadia Roma and Tomoyo Yamada — all magna cum laude.


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