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Shout Out to The Class of 2018!

Posted by Jim Tagye on May 11, 2018 2:50:17 PM

Congratulations to all 305 graduates of the Mercy College of Health Sciences Class of 2018, representing 12 academic disciplines from 116 cities in 11 states and 5 countries.

Friends and family from far and wide celebrated the milestones of their loved ones who are entering the next chapter of their lives.

Watch the Student Speakers Deliver their Remarks Below

Justin GillJustin Michael Gill, BSN
Before attending Mercy College of Health Sciences, Justin graduated from Drake University with a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Science Education with endorsements in biology, general science, physical science, and coaching. He taught middle school science for seven years and coached middle school track and wrestling. As an educator at Saint Theresa Catholic School, Justin helped redevelop the diocesan science curriculum, initiate a kindergarten - 8th grade STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) program, organized the installment and utilization of a school garden to help offset the cost of the lunch program, and was nominated for the Iowa’s Inspirational Teacher award.

Mr. Gill hopes to begin his nursing career in cardiac intensive care, working towards a position on the flight team, and eventually carrying his love for science and education into a research nurse position. In his free time, Mr. Gill is an avid runner, music enthusiast, and very amateur golfer. He would like to thank his wife, family, and friends for their continued support throughout his non-traditional journey.

Venecia RobertsVenecia G. Roberts, BSHCA 
Venecia earned her Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration (HCA) degree. She earned cum laude academic honors and received the HCA Outstanding Student award. Mrs. Roberts began her healthcare career in 1995 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Brooklyn, New York.

She has also worked as a substitute teacher and served as a Consular Assistant at the United States Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica.

During her HCA practicum experience she was hired as a Program Specialist at the Iowa Healthcare Collaborative where she will continue to work after graduation.

Mrs. Roberts earned a previous degree at Lambeth University in London, England. She was born on the twin island of Trinidad and Tobago, where she met and married her high school sweetheart. Mrs. Roberts has been married for over 25 years and she and her husband are the proud parents of Olivia, Amanda, and Nicholas.

 Pinning Photo Gallery

Commencement  Photo Gallery

The Catherine McAuley Award 

for Professional Excellence Recipients

Jane Degooyer, EDD, MSN, RN-BC Ana Kautza, BS, NRP, PM Most Reverend Richard E. Pates

Jane Degooyer is a 1981 graduate from the Mercy School of Nursing. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Drake University in 2002, a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Iowa in 2005, and her Doctor of Education from the College of Saint Mary in 2017. Dr. DeGooyer began her career at Mercy College of Health Sciences in 2013 as an assistant professor.

In 2017 she was promoted to Associate Dean of Nursing. Prior to working at Mercy College, Dr. DeGooyer spent 15 years in a clinical leadership role at Mercy Des Moines as a Pain Clinician, eight years as a critical care nurse and 10 years working with a head and neck surgeon. Dr. DeGooyer is a frequent presenter on the topic of pain management, is a current member of the National League of Nursing and a member of the Mercy College Alumni Advisory Committee.

Ana Kautza (Morgan) graduated magna cum laude with her Bachelor of Science in Health Science and Associate of Science in Emergency Medical Services from Mercy College in 2013 and earned the Paramedic Certificate in 2011.

She is finishing her Associate Degree of Nursing at Des Moines Area Community College and has been accepted into Allen College’s Masters in Family Nurse Practitioner’s program. Mrs. Kautza has worked as a nationally registered paramedic in the Boone and Marshalltown communities since 2011 and is currently Boone County Hospital Ambulance Service’s training officer. During her time as a paramedic she has obtained multiple American Heart Association and NAEMT certifications. She serves the people and animals of the Boone community through the Youth and Shelter Service’s mentoring program and the Boone Area Humane Society. 

On April 10, 2008, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI appointed Bishop Richard E. Pates the ninth bishop of the Diocese of Des Moines. Since being installed, Bishop Pates has focused on building up a vocation culture that invites everyone to play a role; reaching out to newcomers, particularly Spanish-speaking people; educating and experiencing evangelization; and engaging youth and young adults as vibrant and valued members of the faith community. Bishop Pates was born in St. Paul, MN. and attended St. Paul Seminary, St. Paul and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Latin. He resided at the North American College in Rome for seminary formation and holds a license in Sacred Theology in Dogmatics from the Gregorian University in Rome, and was ordained a priest by Bishop Francis E. Reh in 1968 at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Honorary Doctorate Recipient

imagePatricia Clare Sullivan, DHSC 1928-2018

Patricia Clare Sullivan, who loved nursing and all she cared for spent the majority of her career at Mercy – Des Moines where she would serve as an instructor at the (then) Mercy School of Nursing; as the director of the School of Nursing; as a pediatrics’ nursing supervisor; and finally, as president from 1977-1993. Under Patricia Clare’s guidance, Mercy grew into a state-of-the-art medical center and one of Iowa’s largest employers. Among her many recognitions, Patricia Clare was honored with the National Conference of Christians and Jews Leadership Award. She was a member of the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame and was the first woman inducted into the Central Iowa Business Hall of Achievement. In 2005 the Sullivan Center on the Mercy College campus opened and serves to educate future nurses, health professionals and leaders. To honor Patricia Clare’s legacy of service to health care and the important role she played in nursing education, Mercy Auxiliary of Central Iowa established the Patricia Clare Sullivan Endowed Nursing Scholarship in 2009 to sustain her legacy in supporting nursing students with financial need.

Graduation Awards inadvertently unmentioned during the Commencement Ceremony for Associate of Science in Nursing

  • Tara Jaye Garland, Clinical Award - The student has consistently served as a role model of excellence, compassion, concern, and respect in all clinical interactions, going beyond the Mercy expectations in consistency and quality of performance.
  • Yasmin Khoshdel, Service Learning Award - The student has demonstrated concern for those who are poor and disadvantaged by providing exemplary service to these individuals.
  • Ixchel Marie Ochoa, Peer Mentor Award - The student has demonstrated compassion by providing academic and/or emotional support to another student.
  • Kelly Cristine WhitakerOutstanding Student Award - The student has served as a well-rounded role model for peers, demonstrating overall excellence in academics, clinicals, service and collegiate life.

Topics: Commencement, Pinning, Photo Gallery