Nursing Program Holds ‘Drive-thru Pinning Ceremony’ for Graduates


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Story By: Ben Hensley, Editor-in-Chief

The traditional pinning ceremony for graduates of the FCC nursing program will be held in unique fashion on Saturday, May 23.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, graduates this spring will participate in a “drive-thru pinning ceremony” to commemorate their graduation from the nursing program. The pinning ceremony has been running since 1964.

“The Pinning Ceremony recognizes not only the Fresno City College graduate, but also it represents a right of passage,” said William Baldwin, a faculty adviser to the pinning committee. “The pin lets the public know that the graduate has passed the State of California’s Board of Registered Nursing required courses to sit for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) exam. Once the graduate passes the NCLEX exam they are awarded the title of Registered Nurse.”

As opposed to the traditional pinning ceremony which sees graduates of the nursing program on stage receiving their pins, this year, the 111 graduates will drive from parking lots D and E (on the McKinley side), past the Health Science Building en route to the ceremony, according to a press release from the FCC Public Information Office.

Graduating students will remain in their cars and be handed their sash and pin in a sealed plastic bag.

The event is planned to be a festive one, with balloons, cheerleaders and noisemakers to celebrate the students’ achievements.

FCC President Carole Goldsmith and Vice President of Instruction Don Lopez will be in attendance, along with APA Dean Lorraine Smith, interim director of the nursing program Pam Vogel, and other faculty members.

All proceedings will be in compliance with the COVID-19 guidelines set by the state of California as directed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Families are invited to attend the ceremony, but are required to remain in vehicles with their graduates.

Baldwin said the process to move to a “drive-thru” style pinning ceremony was conceived from social media postings of birthday parties.

“My original plan was to combine the spring and fall semesters (this fall) and have one large ceremony (approximately 220 graduates) and call it done,” Baldwin said. “Unfortunately this would not do justice to the individuality of the spring semester. So, I thought if drive-thru birthday parties work why can’t a drive-thru Pinning Ceremony with a much larger precession?”

Baldwin said that they will utilize a YouTube channel to broadcast speeches by administration, faculty and students. Graduates will be photographed as they receive their pins, as well as receive photographs taken throughout the two-year program.

“And what is a Pinning Ceremony without drone video!” Baldwin added. “We will have 2 drones filming overhead as the precession of cars make their way through the campus as well as exiting afterward.”

Baldwin also added that the graduates of the nursing program face a challenge unlike other majors, in that they will be expected to maintain and care for the health of the public and the safety of community members.

Many nursing graduates will go directly into the profession to assist in the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

“This task they accept with an ethical standard unmatched in any other industry,” said Baldwin. “These are special people and they deserve to be celebrated loudly and often.”