University Relations and Communications

A Family Affair

December 21, 2012



Susan Floyd, Director, City College Nursing Programs, 247-3073
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


City College nursing graduation celebration features family, friends in pinning ceremony


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — For much of their academic careers as nursing students, they were recognizable by their scrubs, sanitary gloves and masks. Last week, the smiles told the story.


family celebrates nurse's pinning

For 38 practical nurse and registered nurse graduates from the nursing program offered through City College at MSU Billings, it was a time to leave the scrubs behind — for now at least — and celebrate an arduous path toward professional success.  It was the traditional end-of-semester RN and PN pinning ceremony, a landmark event for both two-year programs.


The student-led pinning ceremony is designed to be ceremonial and pays homage to the highly respected field of nursing and the special kind of graduate it takes to fill the shoes of a nurse. Students receiving pins will become part of history — both of the legacy of the respected local nursing programs and of the tradition the 1,000 year-old symbol of service to others.


Like all traditions, this one has strong family ties and family members are front and center in many aspects. Cell phone cameras flashed and smiles widened as movie cameras and tears of joy were rolling. And when it came time for the nursing graduates to receive their pins, mothers, fathers, husbands, sons, daughters or friends joined the individual graduates on the stage of the Health Sciences Building at City College to do the honors.


Jackie LaVe’ was pinned by her sister, Mattie Beadling, who is also an MSU Billings student. Michelle Boyer was pinned by her mother, Candice Wells. Holly Lemons was joined by her mother and children. April Morales shared her moment in the spotlight with her boyfriend and daughters.


And on it went.


For the graduates, the family-friendly atmosphere of the ceremony mirrored the close-knit feeling of the nursing program. 

“I liked this program because it was really flexible,” said the 24-year-old Boyer.


A Billings West High graduate in 2007, Boyer has been working as an LPN at the Billings Clinic while she studied to be an RN. 

nursing students“I wanted to stay in Billings and I knew this was a good program so this made sense to me,” she said.


Boyer said she liked how “everyone worked together as a team” to support the students and appreciated the access she had to faculty members on a regular basis.


Boyer and her colleagues now look forward to careers in helping patients at various capacities, whether they be in short-term observation units, long-term care facilities or emergency rooms.

One of the graduates, however, completed the RN program as an affirmation of a path he took a number of years ago.


Lanny Orr, a 39-year-old from Laurel, started his path to nursing while serving as a hospital corpsman with the Navy.  During his four-year stint dealing with wounded Marines and serving “all over the place,” Orr found an appreciation for emergency room medicine. 

“I like the adrenaline and I wanted to work in an area that required quick decisions and the right decisions,” he said.


Gregarious and energetic, Orr has been working as an LPN in the emergency department at Billings Clinic while studying for his RN degree. He was elected president of their class and happens to be the only male in the Fall 2012 class of 18 RN graduates. He said he knows he has chosen the right path and is preparing for a new job as an RN at the Billings Clinic.


He, too, had planned on his pinning being a family affair, but his new son was just nine days old the night of the ceremony. Boyer and a his classmates, however, did not want him to be left out, and did the pinning honors in place of Orr’s wife, Joey.


nursing students share hugsLike Boyer and Orr, the graduates of the City College program are eagerly anticipating work in their chosen field, said Susan Floyd, the director of the program.  The majority of the students who received the Associate of Science Degree in Registered Nursing had earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Practical Nursing at City College (formerly the College of Technology).


“They are all outstanding graduates and will be outstanding nurses,” Floyd said.

The highly competitive program works to fill frontline healthcare needs at hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, extended care facilities, retirement centers, assisted-living facilities and in nursing pools. The graduates will now take the critical national NCLEX assessment to be fully licensed.


The pass-rate on that test is a demonstration of quality of the program and the students who complete it. The Spring 2012 cohort of RN graduates had a 100 percent pass rate on the NCLEX test, Floyd said.


Fnd out more about the pre-requisites for the nursing programs and career potential:


Practical NurseRegistered Nurse or call Floyd at 247-3073.


PHOTOS ABOVE: Holly Lemons, right, celebrates her City College RN pinning with her mother, left, and children at a ceremony on Dec. 14. The celebration is a tradition marks the end of an arduous academic career and features family members who supported the students who worked to attain their degree. Shown below, Practical Nurse graduate Jackie LaVe’ gets an approving smile from her sister Mattie Beadling.  Also shown below, Lanny Orr, the president of the City College’s RN class, shares a hug with fellow graduate Michelle Boyer.