Students gathered at commencement

More than 200 graduating students, representing nearly every level of the nursing profession, received their diplomas at the UCLA School of Nursing’s 2024 Commencement Ceremony at the historic Royce Hall.

Graduates were joined by more than a thousand family and friends, distinguished School of Nursing faculty members, preceptors, staff, and special guests. Along with the presentation of degrees, attendees heard from school leaders, including Dean Lin Zhan, and student speakers from each of UCLA Nursing’s academic programs.

“Today we stand here, stronger and more resilient than ever before,” said Dr. Christina Craigo, a graduating Doctor of Nursing Practice student. “And as we embark on the next chapter of our journey, let us not forget to laugh, to celebrate, and to always cherish the memories we have created together. Congratulations, my fellow graduates. The world is waiting for us, and I have no doubt that we are ready to make our mark!”

The School of Nursing was also honored to welcome Johnese Spisso, a renowned healthcare leader and President of UCLA Health as well as the CEO of the UCLA Health System, to deliver the keynote address attendees. Spisso spoke to graduates about her own journey to nursing and how her experience as a nurse helped shape her as a leader.

Johnese Spisso
UCLA Health President Johnese Spisso

“My foundation as a nurse guided me throughout my career in nursing and onward to my eventual roles in health system leadership,” Spisso said. “Whether you are a new graduate nurse, completing an advanced practice degree, or receiving your doctorate, this is a profession dedicated to inspiring passion, purpose, and perseverance to improve health for our patients and communities.”

Her address emphasized the importance of compassion and continuous learning in nursing, highlighting UCLA Health’s commitment to uplifting nurse voices and innovations. She also highlighted the 40 nurses recently honored by the Simms/Mann Family Foundation, including several School of Nursing students and alumni, for their contributions to healthcare in southern California.

Spisso concluded her remarks by acknowledging that many of those graduating would soon be joining her in roles at UCLA Health and reminded them to always practice with empathy, kindness, and compassion not just for their patients but for themselves as well.

After receiving their diplomas, graduates recited the International Pledge for Nurses and were led in the UCLA 8-clap by graduating Bachelor of Science students Juliana Rosales and Kevin Pilcher. Congratulations to the UCLA School of Nursing Class of 2024!

Students posing for a photograph at commencement
UCLA Nursing student at commencement
Students posing for a photo at commencement
Students posing for a photo at commencement

Watch the 2024 Commencement Ceremony on YouTube