NEWS | June 11, 2020

UC Davis nursing school hosts virtual celebration

Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing honor graduates, announces awards


The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis lauded the accomplishments of 151 master’s-degree students and eight doctoral candidates during a virtual celebration that launched online today.

School of Nursing graduates celebrate virtually in 2020. School of Nursing graduates celebrate virtually in 2020.

“We are disheartened that we could not gather together for a formal commencement, however we wished to recognize the incredible accomplishments of our graduating students,” said Dean Stephen Cavanagh. “The fact that they have remain focused and on track during the coronavirus pandemic is a great testimony to the dedicated practitioners, clinicians, researchers and leaders they have become.”

The celebration included recorded comments from Cavanagh, Chancellor Gary S. May, Vice Chancellor of Human Health Sciences David Lubarsky, directors of the school’s five graduate-degree programs and student-nominated speakers.

“I know that in the past few weeks, many things have changed,” said Kristina Rodriguez, a graduate of the master’s-degree leadership program. “We used our leadership skills to not only adapt to our circumstance, but to step up to the challenge.”

“The future is bright and the world is waiting for you,” added doctoral graduate Adebola Olarewaju.

Cavanagh recognized five students with awards of excellence highlighting the school’s five core attributes:

  • Excellence in Leadership Development: Amber Ross
  • Excellence in Interprofessional Education: Laura Schaffer
  • Excellence in Transformative Research: Loralyn Taylor
  • Excellence in Cultural Inclusiveness: Selu Vargas
  • Excellence in Innovative Technology: Breanne Harris

School of Nursing students and faculty also submitted nominations for the Dignity Health Dean’s Leadership Awards, which honor staff and faculty in three areas: Diversity and Inclusion, Teaching and Research. Those recognized include:

Cavanagh and faculty also hosted a Virtual Academic Symposium — across two days — to highlight the research accomplishments of graduates and the work completed in the school’s Community Connections course. School leadership plans to host an in-person commencement celebration in December if social gathering protocols allow for large groups.

The Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Graduate Degree Programs, which include master’s degrees in leadership, family nurse practitioner, physician assistant studies and entry-level nursing, as well as a doctoral program, are led by an interprofessional team of more than 55 faculty from across UC Davis. Learn more at

About the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis
The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis transforms health care through interprofessional nursing education and research. Established in 2009 through a $100 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the school offers five graduate areas of study, including doctoral and master’s-degree programs in nursing science and health-care leadership and master’s-degree programs for pre-licensure nurses, family nurse practitioners and physician assistants, with a focus on preparing primary-care providers for rural and underserved communities. The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing is part of UC Davis Health, an integrated, academic health system encompassing the UC Davis School of Medicine, UC Davis Medical Center and the UC Davis Medical Group. For more information, visit