VUSN graduates 449 students at 2024 commencement ceremony

Two women wearing graduation robes smiling.

Founders Medalist Teresa Cagle, who graduated with her Doctor of Nursing Practice, stands with Vanderbilt School of Nursing Dean Pam Jeffries.

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing celebrated graduating students and their entry into the nursing profession with a pinning ceremony and reception Thursday, May 9, followed by Investiture on Friday, May 10. The ceremonies recognized students completing their programs in August and December 2023 and May 2024. It also marked the first class of Master of Nursing students to graduate from VUSN.

Investiture ceremonies took place on Vanderbilt’s Magnolia Lawn, a new location that was necessitated by the size of the graduating class. The Class of 2024 included 359 Master of Science in Nursing students, and 60 Doctor of Nursing Practice students, as well as 30 Master of Nursing students. Seven PhD in Nursing Science students were also recognized. In addition, the school awarded 31 Post-Master’s Certificates in advanced practice specialties to graduates who earned them along with their degrees.

The event marked a milestone for the School of Nursing as its Master of Nursing students are the first generalist nurses the school has graduated since the 1980s. Dean and Valere Potter Distinguished Professor of Nursing Pamela Jeffries, PhD, FAAN, ANEF, FSSH, called them pioneers and advocates.

“You have been equipped with the knowledge, experience, and problem-solving skills to be exceptional registered nurses – and health equity champions,” she said. “You will make a positive impact in the lives of your patients, communities, and organizations.”

Teresa Cagle, DNP’24, was selected as Founder’s Medalist for the School of Nursing. Each year, Vanderbilt awards the Founder’s Medal to the top scholar in each of its 10 schools in honor of founder Cornelius Vanderbilt.

“Teresa has dedicated her scholarship and now her career to being an advocate for mental health care,” Jeffries said. “She is determined not only to treat patients with the highest level of evidence-based care but to mentor and educate students as she continues to advocate for mental health care and quality, equitable and safe patient care.”  Cagle practices as a psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner at McIntosh Trail Agency in Georgia, which provides mental health, developmental disability and addictive disease services to underserved communities in metro Atlanta.

“This year’s graduates are remarkably committed and innovative nursing professionals,” Jeffries said. “They chose to advance their nursing education during one of the most challenging periods in our history, and they thrived in their studies and practice. These new Vanderbilt nurses are needed as providers and leaders, and they will make a difference.”