Gala Celebrates Students

The past and the future converged during the College of Nursing 40th Anniversary Gala.

CoN alumni and students mingled during the event. And while past nursing graduates shared memories and were honored for their contributions to the college, the students were hailed as the future of nursing.

“Members from the first class were asked to stand up and get recognition, which was fabulous to see,” senior Lauren Kloostra says. “And then after that, to our surprise, we were asked to stand and be recognized as the current students. What an honor.”

The gala at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago provided the treasured opportunity for students to interact with CoN alumni who paved the way for the college’s existence.

“I always look at the composite pictures of the graduated seniors in the hallways at LeBien [Hall] and think, ‘I’ll be up there someday,’” junior Julie Wingstrom says. “I loved being able to talk with the alumni and discovering what they did or are currently doing with their nursing degree because there are so many options.”

Senior Brenda Moechoe says: “Some of the faculty introduced me to their classmates who graduated from the College of Nursing, and I heard about their great college stories that I can still relate to today.”

Many of the students in attendance are preparing to take their place in the nursing field, including senior Cheryl Duesenberg, who was offered a position after graduation at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis.

“As I reflect on my four years at Valpo, I see that I have been well prepared to begin my nursing career,” Duesenberg says. “While I will greatly miss my many wonderful Valpo friends, I know I will leave with cherished memories and valuable experiences.”

Senior Kristina Mancini says she’s grateful for the dedication of the CoN faculty.

“They push us and motivate us to be our best, and help us along when we find something especially difficult,” Mancini says. “Before long, I will make an excellent nurse, and I will have the professors at the nursing college to thank for it.”

PHOTO CAPTION: Students who attended the gala included (front row from left) Jenel Yoder, Brenda Moechoe and Kristen Hart; (middle row from left) Rebekah Schmerber and Melissa Brummet; and (back row from left) Valerie Jokela, Kristina Mancini, Julie Wingstrom, Lauren Kloostra and Emily Leibenguth.

Gala pictures are available by visiting Please type CON40th in the description box.