Mississippi College

Mississippi College December 2013 Commencement Graduates 26 Nurses

January 2, 2014

Obed Hernandez is well on his way to fulfilling a dream as one of Mississippi College’s 26 new nursing graduates.

“I like helping others and changing peoples’ lives,” Hernandez said moments before the School of Nursing’s December 20 commencement at Swor Auditorium.

Born in Mexico, Hernandez grew up in Fresno, California but moved to Mississippi 17 years ago and is a 2001 Clinton High graduate. A former construction worker, Hernandez, 28, exited that field when the USA economy collapsed a few years ago. He made it his goal to pursue the nursing profession.

Mississippi College nursing graduates like Shayla Cole of Stone Mountain, Georgia plan to continue job hunting at a hospital in the Peach State. “I love nursing,” she said. “I was born to be a nurse.”

Dr. Lisa Eichelberger, dean of the Clayton State University School of Nursing in Morrow, Georgia, delivered the keynote speech to the Class of 2013 at the nursing commencement. Eichelberger served as MC’s nursing dean from 1987 to 1995.

Nursing graduate Chad Phillips, 22, of Madison played football at the University of Mississippi for two years. He spent the final two years as a long snapper for the MC Choctaws football team, but always found time to hit the books on the Clinton campus.

Graduation was extra special for Chad. He graduated from the MC School of Nursing with his sister, Christy Phillips. “We were together and loved every minute,” he said. Chad Phillips plans to attend graduate school in New Orleans and will study to become a family nurse practitioner.

MC School of Nursing professor Denise Ferriss of Clinton, who’s served 16 years on the faculty, was among the well-wishers at graduation ceremonies. She joined the graduates for photo sessions on the Quad minutes after the event. The students, she said, “seemed to find a lot of humor in everything. They enjoy each other.”

Ferriss says she was called into the profession since she was an eighth grader.

Mississippi College held two other graduations in December. MC’s distinguished professor of the year, longtime English Department faculty member David Miller addressed the undergraduates at the A.E. Wood Coliseum.

Tennessee businessman Don “Papa” Jordan, a 1951 School of Business alumnus, was scheduled to address the Graduate School commencement at the Christian university’s basketball arena. The commencement saw the university’s first 19 physician assistant students receive diplomas. Unique in Mississippi, the two and one-half year graduate program trains professionals to work under the supervision of physicians.

A native of the Hubei Province in China, Sabrina Song Qiu, 24, is receiving her MBA in accounting. She works part-time as an intern at the Lightheart & Sanders accounting firm in Madison, but that will turn into a full-time job very soon.

“This is like a new start in my life,” says Qiu, who earned her undergraduate degree, a bachelor’s in accounting from Mississippi College in December 2011.

At Mississippi College, Sabrina also met her future husband, Ken Qiu. A native of south China, Ken Qiu is an MC graduate who works in the university’s Office of Global Education and serves as coach of the Christian university’s table tennis team ranked No. 2 in North America. Ken is the former captain of the team.

Photo: Mississippi College School of Nursing professor Denise Ferriss of Clinton joins 2013 nursing graduate Lauren Bahm of Brandon for a photo on the Quad minutes after the December 20 commencement. The School of Nursing issued diplomas to 26 new graduates during ceremonies on the Clinton campus.

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