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Nursing Students Honored during King University Pinning Ceremonies

BRISTOL, Tenn., Dec. 12, 2017 – King University nursing students, faculty, and guests gathered together for the School of Nursing’s traditional Nurse’s Pinning ceremonies on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at West Park Baptist Church near King’s Hardin Valley campus in Knoxville and on Thursday, Dec. 7 at First Presbyterian Church adjacent to the University’s main campus in Bristol, Tenn. The Pinning ceremonies are held each semester during the week leading up to Commencement for undergraduate and graduate students.

“Pinning, as a rite of passage in nursing education originated with Florence Nightingale, who in 1855, received an honorary pin for her service during the Crimean War awarded by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert,” said Tracy Slemp, DNP, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, dean of King’s School of Nursing. “King Nursing School graduates received the King University Nursing Pin, which is unique to King and was designed by the first nursing school graduates in 2001. King’s nursing pin bears symbols of power, bravery, and eternity of God’s love, along with the Celtic Cross.”

The ceremony begins with the telling of the origins of the pinning and a brief message. Then each graduate is called forward to receive his or her pin or master’s hood. They then receive a blessing of the hands in which each students’ hands are washed and anointed. The blessing is for the journey on which they are about to embark. The graduates then stand for the lighting of the lamp. Two candle-bearers then proceed to lighting the students’ lamps. During the lighting of the lamp, a soloist sings “Be Thou My Vision” at the Bristol ceremony, and “Go Light My World” is played at the ceremony in Knoxville. The lamp is symbolic of the Florence Nightingale lamp and lighting is symbolic of the light God instills in each of us and our charge to make a difference in the world.

“Pinning is a time of ceremony to recognize and celebrate the rich gifts of accomplishment and success as a result of discipline and dedication,” said Slemp.

Students receiving their master’s degree in nursing were hooded at the ceremony. Hooding is an academic ceremony that has held throughout centuries to be symbolic of scholarly devotion and the orderly evolution of knowledge. The master’s hood compliments the academic regalia with discreet representations of the degree earned, the school, and the discipline.

King University’s School of Nursing offers a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in a traditional four-year format, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing for Registered Nurses one night per week for as few as 16 months. The Master of Science in Nursing program includes specialization areas in Nursing Administration, Nurse Educator, Family Nurse Practitioner, Family Nurse Practitioner – Post Master’s Certificate, and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner.

The baccalaureate degree, master’s degree, and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs at King University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (


King University is a Presbyterian-affiliated, doctoral-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information on SCHEV certification, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.