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Fall 2015 Recognition Ceremony

More than 1,000 families and friends gathered at the Hawaii Theatre on December 17, 2015, to celebrate over 90 Fall 2015 graduates from UHM Nursing. Graduates from the Bachelor of Science, RN to BS, Master of Science, Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) nursing programs participated in this Fall’s Recognition Ceremony.

UHM Nursing Fall 2015 graduates

The students selected AnnaLyn Ogata, Director of Oncology at The Queen’s Medical Center to deliver their keynote address. Ogata opened with a reflection on her personal journey in nursing and how it has been a non-stop, endless career opportunity. She impressed upon the graduates how blessed they are to be able to have such a huge impact on the lives of others, despite the challenges of the responsibility they carry, “As a nurse it is an expectation that we go above and beyond for our patients at the expense of our own needs. But I promise you this, the blessings that you give to your patients will return to you tenfold. You have an incredible opportunity to make a difference in somebody’s life every day that you go to work.” Ogata encouraged the graduates to seize the opportunity to impact their patients’ lives by using their voices. She emphasized the importance of exercising their voices through participation in professional nursing organizations, action-oriented committees, and further academic study to be able to provide the best patient care possible saying, “Only by getting involved and having a voice can the nursing profession truly be the change agents and patient advocates that our customers expect us to be.” At the conclusion of her speech, Ogata shared a quote from Judy Garland which inspired her to become the leader she is today, and to encourage the graduates to have the courage to be themselves, “Always be a first rate version of yourself instead of a second rate version of somebody else.”

Student speakers included BS graduate Kayla Dickey and MS graduate Michael Morimoto. Bachelor’s graduate and baccalaureate Class President Kayla Dickey expressed appreciation for the nursing faculty, mentors, family and friends who guided her and her classmates through the nursing program saying “I’d like to thank … those people in our lives that held us together and refused to allow us to give up.” She continued by showcasing the nursing field as one to be entered into with care and pride, sharing that nursing “is the most trusted profession in the United States.” She ended with a heartwarming recollection highlighting what she’ll miss most about her classmates and wished them the best in the next new chapter of their lives.

Master of Science in Nursing graduate Michael Morimoto reflected on how his program developed his leadership abilities and highlighted the valuable lessons he gained from each of his faculty and courses. He went on to express appreciation for the vision of the school to encourage servant leadership by “quietly [teaching] that success is more than personal awards and recognition … it’s about joining the frontline, and demonstrating to others what is achievable.” Michael concluded by touching upon the great need in today’s society for transformational health care leaders and called upon his colleagues to accept the daunting task of creating needed change in our health system. “The time has come for us and I challenge you to step with me now into the arena and let’s restore what is the idea of a transformational leader, to bring change in health care.”

In keeping with tradition, students invited family members to participate on stage during the pinning ceremony. Each student received a ribbon lei from the School with a UHM Nursing alumni pin affixed to it. UH Manoa Nursing Alumni Association (UHMNAA) President Lori Kaneshige, MSN, RN, continued a more recent tradition of giving a $250 cash gift to accompany the baccalaureate student-selected Professional Nurse Award presented to Tiara Dole. Additionally, UHMNAA awarded one-year of complimentary membership to the alumni chapter to each of the following baccalaureate awardees: Lisa Lavergne, Leadership Award; Kristy Arizumi, DAISY in Training Award; Arnold Andres, Kahiau Award; Hazel Asperin and Brianna Taylor, Community Service Award; Ashli-Danielle Abreu, Asherly Silva, Susan Vogts, and Natalie Wong, Academic Achievement Award.

The undergraduate students presented UHM Nursing faculty Karol Richardson, PhD, MPH, APRN-BC with the Nurse Educator Award, in recognition of her respect and dedication to her students’ success. Michele Bray, MS, APHN, RN was the recipient of the faculty-selected DAISY Faculty Award, in honor of her exceptional impact on students and inspirational influence on their future.

UHM Nursing will celebrate the Spring 2016 graduates at Recognition Ceremony in May 2016. For questions about the upcoming Recognition Ceremony, please contact Carlyn Okatomi at

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