Lamp of Learning ceremony

Members of the UAB/WSCC Nursing Joint Enrollment Program participated in a Lamp of Learning ceremony Monday, Sept. 21 to mark the beginning of their nursing career. Pictured are from left, in front: UAB Assistant Professor Nanci Swan Claus, Shakenzie Alexander, Alexandria Pruitt, Breanne Davis, Wallace State Department of Nursing Education Chair Deborah “Pepper” Hoover; second row: Kayla Madison Spivey, Alexa Pennington; Olivia Hollingsworth; back row: Madison Baker, Jaycee Guined, Virginia McAnally, and Grace Ann Lambert.

Several Wallace State Community College nursing students marked the beginning of their journey in becoming a nurse Monday with a Lamp of Learning ceremony. Hosted remotely by the University of Alabama and also including students from Jefferson State Community College, the induction ceremony welcomed them into their nursing career and reminded them of the role they will play in the lives of their future patients.

The ceremony marks the second such event for Wallace State nursing students enrolled in the UAB/WSCC Nursing Joint Enrollment Program. Unlike the first where students were inducted in a ceremony at UAB School of Nursing, students from Wallace State and Jefferson State — inducting their first class — joined the event via Zoom. 

“We are excited to welcome our class of 12 students participating in the joint enrollment program with Wallace State Community College and the UAB School of Nursing; both excellent nursing schools,” said Deborah “Pepper” Hoover, chair of the WSCC Department of Nursing Education. “By opening this pathway, these new nursing students will have the ability to complete their clinical education on Wallace’s campus while simultaneously gaining the theory coursework at UAB, thus earning the BSN degree at the same time as they complete the associate degree in nursing.”

Hoover added that the program could help ease a looming nursing shortage. “This program allows us to meet the state’s and nation’s goals of more bachelor prepared nurses. Combining the best assets of our community college system and the four-year college system, our students will be able to take pride in the resources offered by both campuses.”

UAB Dean of Nursing Dr. Doreen Harper called the Lamp of Learning ceremony a rite of passage for new nursing students. “It welcomes you to nursing practice and raises your awareness of the value of humanism and compassion, together with scientific knowledge as you care for individuals and family,” Dr. Harper said. “Tonight formally marks the beginning of your nursing career.”

Dr. Harper remarked how throughout the years, nurses have always been on the front line of healthcare.

“Never has it been more crucial for nurses to be highly educated,” she said. “The coronavirus pandemic has shown us all the importance of nursing and the medical team at the bedside and in the communities.

“As our newest students, it’s up to you to step into your role as the future of innovation and achievement in nursing healthcare,” Dr. Harper added. “To lead by example, tackle the growing challenges and demands in healthcare. And believe me, the demands we’ve seen in the last nine months are unprecedented in our lifetime.”

Wallace State is currently accepting applicants for the UAB/WSCC Joint Enrollment and the traditional associate degree programs through Oct. 1 for Spring 2021 entry. Applicants for Fall 2021 have from March 15 to May 15 to apply.

The Wallace State Department of Education has twice been designated as a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing. For more information about the Nursing program, visit or call 256.382.8199.

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