Graduate Sandra Kamba wearing cap and gown speaks at podium

UC Davis nursing school hosts commencement

Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing celebrates return to in-person event


The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis lauded the accomplishments of 129 master’s-degree students and six doctoral candidates at its 2022 commencement on June 9. The event, at Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts on the UC Davis campus, was the first in-person graduation celebration for the school since 2019. 

“We all know how many in-person events were missed because of the pandemic — and missed for more than two years,” said Dean Stephen Cavanagh. “Yet here we are! And thanks to the perseverance of these students, the commitment of our faculty and staff and unwavering support from all of you in the audience, we have 135 aspiring change agents ready to go out into the world and make a real difference.”

UC Davis Chancellor Gary S. May told graduates now is the time to reconnect.

“The future is wide open. This is a moment to reflect, to recharge. Reconnect with your dreams. Remind yourself of why you started down this path. Helping others and leading with scientific knowledge are at the very heart of your mission,” he said.

Aron King, a graduate of the school’s Master of Science — Leadership Degree Program and assistant nurse manager at UC Davis Health, gave the keynote.

“I am truly impressed with the journey of these students,” he said. “We celebrate this as a product. A product of all those late nights and early mornings. Those missed weekends and canceled dinner plans. We celebrate the end of this chapter together and the beginning of the next.”

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

graduate wearing cap and gown walks across stage holding hand in air in celebration
Physician assistant graduate Jocelyn Ramirez was among the 135 graduates celebrated during the milestone event in their academic journeys.

  • Excellence in Community Connection: Jessica Dyatlov, family nurse practitioner program
  • Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion: Sophia Crosby, Master’s Entry Program in Nursing
  • Excellence in Leadership: Ju-A Son, Master’s Entry Program in Nursing
  • Excellence in Innovative Solutions: Aldreen Venzon, Doctor of Philosophy program
  • Excellence in Collaboration: Irene Turner, physician assistant program

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

  • Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion: Susan Adams
  • Excellence in Teaching: Gordon Worley
  • Excellence in Research: Julie Bidwell

The Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Graduate Degree Programs, which include master’s degrees in physician assistant studies and entry-level nursing, as well as a Doctor of Philosophy and a new Doctor of Nursing Practice — Family Nurse Practitioner program, are led by an interprofessional team of more than 55 faculty from across UC Davis. View the program from the celebration. Learn more at