Above: Elizabeth Thomas of Brandon
The pandemic may have changed the course of Elizabeth Thomas’ life.
Thomas, of Brandon, was a dietician with a master’s degree working in California. As the COVID-19 pandemic continued, she moved back home with her parents and started nursing school at Hinds Community College.
Thomas, 40, graduated May 10 with an Associate Degree in Nursing and will work with pediatric cancer patients at Children’s of Mississippi.
Hinds nursing school “was a really good experience,” she said. And now she will be doing the job she feels called to do.
Over four ceremonies on May 10, 11 and 13, Hinds is awarding 1,526 degrees and certificates to 1,107 graduates. A number of graduates will receive more than one credential.
In total, 239 students are graduating cum laude with a grade point average of 3.2 to 3.59; 190 are graduating magna cum laude with a grade point average of 3.6 to 3.99 and 82 are graduating summa cum laude with a grade point average of 4.0.
“Every graduation ceremony is special to the college, as we celebrate the success of each student. It is important that we truly celebrate what our graduates have achieved – they have overcome a series of unusual circumstances over the last several months. We are truly excited to celebrate their achievements,” said Hinds President Dr. Stephen Vacik.
Offering the invocation and benediction was Aniyah Braggs of Pearl, a 26-year-old mother of two who graduated with an Associate of Applied Science in the Physical Therapy Assistant program.
The speaker for nursing and allied health graduates was Alexa Jeffers, 24, of Vicksburg, who earned an Associate Degree in Nursing. She will start her bachelor’s program at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in January, and will also be working as an RN in the ICU at St. Dominic Hospital.
“It seems as if we walked through the door yesterday to the first day of lecture. I sat down next to complete strangers not knowing the impact they would have on my life today. I have made some of the best friends of my life while participating in this program,” Jeffers said.
“The Hinds faculty and staff have given us one of the biggest gifts of the ability to have the knowledge and kindness to tackle the journey of life through our new occupations. As many of us in this room know, these programs are hard and come with a hefty workload,” she said.
Academic and career-technical students graduated in two ceremonies on May 11. Ceremonies wrap up on May 13 at the Utica Campus.