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NU School of Nursing Celebrates First Graduating Class from Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center
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Written by Patrick Bradley

August 19, 2020

Niagara University and Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center recently celebrated the graduation of the first cohort of registered nurses to earn Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees through an innovative joint program that saw classes taught on the medical center campus. 

The partnership between Niagara University and Memorial was established in 2018 and aims to improve educational opportunities for registered nurses by offering NU School of Nursing’s RN to BSN program at Memorial. 

While the program offers some courses online, most are face to face to promote synergy and critical thinking. Memorial’s support and commitment to its nurses enabled this initial cohort of working nurses to complete their degree requirements in less than two years. 

The pioneering RN to BSN program was spearheaded by Memorial President & CEO Joseph A. Ruffolo, Chief Nursing Officer JoAnn Pellegrino, Nurse Educator Vicki Smith and Fran Crosby, Ed.D., R.N., director of Niagara University’s School of Nursing. 

“We are so proud of these 12 nurses for their hard work, determination, and perseverance, especially during a time of added hardship. It has been an honor to be a part of their journey and we look forward to our continued partnership with NU’s School of Nursing,” said Pellegrino. 

“These amazing nurses completed their academic expectations not only while working full time, many with family responsibilities, but during the COVID-19 crisis as well. Their productivity has been outstanding and it has been my pleasure to work with them,” Crosby said. “I am so proud to call them NU nurse graduates and appreciative of Joe Ruffolo, JoAnn Pellegrino, and Vicki Smith for making this partnership happen.” 

This year’s graduates are Lynne Clark, RN; Erin McKean, RN; Amanda Kirbis, RN; Brandi Jackson, RN; Anna Pennesi, RN; Victoria Fox, RN; Amanda Martin, RN; Ron Lindaman, RN; Julie Shannon, RN; RyckyAnn Pera, RN; Chantalle Latko, RN; and Lakkhana Cohen, RN. 

The group began their studies in August 2018. Niagara University provides the faculty to teach the program’s courses alongside medical center’s colleagues who identify opportunities for case studies, research projects, guest speakers, and other resources to enhance students’ learning experiences. 

Cutline information:

Niagara University and Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center recently celebrated the graduation of the first cohort of registered nurses to earn Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees through an innovative joint program that saw classes taught on the medical center campus. Among the graduates were top row from left, Lynne Clark, Julie Shannon, Amanda Kirbis, and Victoria Fox. Bottom row, from left, Brandi Jackson, Anna Pennesi, Lakkhana Cohen, Rycky Pera. Not pictured are Erin McKean, Amanda Martin, Ron Lindaman, and Chantalle Latko.

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