Annie Shocket, a Student Ambassador and student leader from Geismar, was also recognized at commencement with the Student Excellence and Commitment to Service Award.

Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University awarded the first doctoral degrees in the University’s 94-year history during the fall commencement exercises held on Friday, Dec. 15 at the Raising Cane’s River Center.

Annie Shocket, a Student Ambassador and student leader from Geismar, was also recognized at commencement with the Student Excellence and Commitment to Service Award. This award distinguishes a graduating student who exemplifies the mission of the institution and who has shown a strong commitment to scholarship, leadership, and service.

The 22 recipients of the Doctor of Nursing Practice in Nurse Anesthesia (DNP-NA) degree were among the 130 undergraduate and graduate degrees conferred during the ceremony. The expansion of doctoral level programs, like the DNP-NA, is one of the main factors that prompted the University’s recent name change.

The DNP-NA program enrolled its first cohort in the spring of 2015 and is designed to prepare the baccalaureate registered nurse for the highest level of advanced nursing practice with a specialization in nurse anesthesia. The graduates of the program will be prepared to meet state, regional and national needs as doctorally-prepared advanced practice nurses in leadership positions in health-related organizations to improve systems of care, patient outcomes, and quality of care.

The commencement keynote speaker was Father Joshua Johnson, a priest for the Diocese of Baton Rouge and currently the Pastor at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in St. Amant. Prior to his ordination to the priesthood, he attended Southern University in Baton Rouge and graduated from St. Joseph’s Seminary College and Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. He has spoken at conferences across the nation and is currently writing his first book on healing the racial divide in the United States through the witness of Jesus Christ.

Ascension Parish Graduates:

Kristen Leah Pilcher, Doctorate of Nursing Practice in Nurse Anesthesia, Prairieville

Chelsi Marie Duplessis, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Gonzales

Danna Lee Fekete, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Gonzales

Ashley Marie Guillaume, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Gonzales

Amber Elizabeth Hunt, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Gonzales

Tricia Marie Jones, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Prairieville

Alaina Elisabeth Keller, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Gonzales

Alexandra Leigh Krieger, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Gonzales

Jana Michel Latuso, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Gonzales

Kevin J. Pohlig, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, St. Amant

*Katelyn Elizabeth Rusk, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Prairieville (Cum Laude)

Taylor Noel Settoon, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Prairieville

Danielle Loreno Dalfrey, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Gonzales

Jennifer Jean Gothard, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, St. Amant

Shawn Michael Soileau, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Prairieville

Annie Julissa Shocket, Bachelor of Science in Biology, Geismar

Contributed by Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University