RIC Nursing Grads Receive Pins at Midyear Ceremony

RIC nursing graduate Kate Nadeau receives her nursing pin from Jane Williams, dean of the School of Nursing.

RIC nursing graduate Kate Nadeau receives her nursing pin from Jane Williams, dean of the School of Nursing.


Marie Ghazal, CEO of the Rhode Island Free Clinic, advised 63 RIC-educated nurses to seize increasing nurse leadership opportunities across the health care system at a midyear pinning ceremony at RIC.

“The health care landscape is changing and you are a piece of that,” Ghazal told graduates. “Nurses are leading hospitals and colleges. They are CEOs. It’s a wonderful time to be a nurse.”

Ghazal, the ceremony’s guest speaker, said nurses today have increased recognition as patient care managers whose expertise primes them for roles as health care policymakers and leaders.

“As nurses, we look into the eyes of our patients and we know what we need to do,” Ghazal said. “It is no different for me as a CEO. Because I understand what delivery of care takes, I am able to lead my organization to get more people into care.”

Ghazal has increased patient visits by 400 percent at her clinic over the last five years by expanding capacity in services, volunteers and caregivers. 

Her success, she said, did not come quickly. She advised graduates to take time to develop their specific passion within nursing and then to parlay that passion into a purposeful career.

“I always had a desire to work in the community and every job I have had has led to me to this work,” Ghazal said. “Every experience I’ve had has led me to another. Maybe you don’t know what your path will be, but you find your passion and contribute to the tapestry of health care.”

During the ceremony, Cynthia Scott of Providence received the Nursing Faculty Award for Service Excellence, given for outstanding service to the RIC School of Nursing, the college and the community. Kate Nadeau of Lincoln received the Nursing Faculty Award for Academic Excellence, given for outstanding academic performance in overall GPA, nursing courses and clinical evaluations.

RIC’s pinning ceremony is a tradition where each graduate receives a pin that combines the RIC seal, featuring a flame representing knowledge, with a lantern similar to that of modern nursing founder Florence Nightingale.

Ron Pitt, vice president for academic affairs, and Jane Williams, dean of the School of Nursing, also addressed graduates at the ceremony.

Each year, RIC graduates about 170 B.S.N.s and 15 M.S.N.s, the majority of whom live and work in Southern New England.