Alumni Plaza the center of the Dowagiac campus


May’s Class of 2021 in front of the David C. Briegel Building

Class of 2021 graduates recite their oaths in front of the David C. Briegel Building

Dr. Debra Green, Department Chair

Dr. Debra Green, Department Chair, Nursing Program

There was no seating for December's walk-through ceremony

With the pandemic waning, spring graduates were able to be seated. December's walk-through in the Nursing and Health Services Building lacked seating.

Amber Villwock pins Kaitlyn Kanaby of Edwardsburg

Amber Villwock pins Kaitlyn Kanaby of Edwardsburg

Dean Dr. Melissa Kennedy pins Jodi Welbaum of Niles

Dr. Melissa Kennedy, Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Services, pins Jodi Welbaum of Niles

SMC Graduates 20-Member Nursing Class

Published on May 19, 2021 - 3 p.m.

Southwestern Michigan College May 15 welcomed 20 new nurses to America’s largest health-care profession with more than 3.8 million registered nurses (RNs) nationwide. The federal government projects that more than 200,000 new RN positions will be created each year through 2026.

The Class of 2021 received associate degrees in nursing (ADN) immediately following SMC’s 54th Commencement outdoors in Alumni Plaza on the Dowagiac campus.

The class joins the ranks of 3,134 SMC nursing graduates.

May graduates include: Olabisi Adekanmbi of Berrien Springs, Jessica Blank of Niles, Danielle Broyles of Benton Harbor, Lucero Delgado of Hartford, Sarah French of Niles, Joanna Ganzalez-Garcia of White Pigeon, Chance Hallas of Dowagiac, Crystal Helton of Niles, Emily Higginbotham of Buchanan, Jennifer Huntman of South Bend, Kaitlyn Kanaby of Edwardsburg, Heather Lindsley of Niles, Kayla Mullen of South Bend, Shannon Poplawski of St. Joseph, Valerie Rowan of Vandalia, Hollee Schau of Niles, Brooke Smith of Niles, Katlynne Stephan of Elkhart, Keeley Taylor of Edwardsburg and Jodi Welbaum of Niles.

Crystal Helton was presented a Lamp of Knowledge in recognition of the peer-selected Florence Nightingale Award, which embodies selflessness, compassion, thoughtfulness, team play, dependability, generosity and humility.

Alexandra West, who returned from the spring 2020 class to walk in the ceremony, said she felt grateful to SMC to get “to stand on stage in front of family and friends, have our moment and gain closure after a long, unpredictable year.”