Combined, Breckenridge and Spring Valley graduate nearly 50 nursing students with associate or bachelor’s degrees

By Carrie Click


Tim Putz was one of four students from Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in nursing this year. Putz traveled to Spring Valley near Glenwood Springs for the BSN pinning and graduation ceremony on May 7. Other Breckenridge BSN nursing students who graduated from the program are David Kerr, Randie McEntire and Lisa Peterson. Twelve nursing students also graduated with associate degrees in nursing from the Breckenridge campus this year. Photo Ed Kosmicki

A dozen Colorado Mountain College students graduated with their Associate of Applied Science degrees in nursing from the college’s campus in Breckenridge May 6. And the next day, another four Breckenridge students were awarded Bachelor of Science in nursing degrees at Spring Valley near Glenwood Springs.

A nursing graduation is a unique event. It includes a pinning ceremony, a symbolic welcome of new graduates into the profession. The tradition was established by Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War in the mid-19th century to acknowledge promising nursing students. In the current ceremony at Colorado Mountain College, each graduating nurse is given a specially designed pin made just for that class of nursing students. The pin is attached to a lanyard, and a family member, friend or mentor to whom the graduate has chosen to dedicate their pin drapes the lanyard around the graduate’s neck.

“It’s a sisterhood – and a brotherhood,” said Betty Bembenek, the college’s director of nursing education. .

First class of bachelor’s nurses

This is the first year Colorado Mountain College has awarded students with Bachelor of Science in nursing degrees, making it the first community college in Colorado to do so.

“We’re one of the leaders in the country,” said Bembenek. Currently, community colleges in just eight states – Florida, Indiana, Georgia, Nevada, New Mexico, Vermont, Washington and now, Colorado – offer a four-year nursing degree.

“It’s good for students and it’s good for health care,” she said.

In addition to Breckenridge’s 12 associate degree nursing graduates and four BSN graduates, the college graduated 24 associate degree students and an additional seven BSN students through its program based at Spring Valley.

Besides nursing, the college offers bachelor’s degrees in applied science, business administration, interdisciplinary studies/elementary education and sustainability studies.

Colorado Mountain College’s nursing graduates – Summit County

Associate of Applied Science in nursing graduates:

Receiving their associate degrees in nursing in Breckenridge on May 6 were

Diane Ebel, Marina Malkiewicz, Karolyn Fagnan, Aryn McCready, Tracy Gelhaar, Amber Motz, Jenny Haser, Kari Poole-Kosel, Christopher Hickey, Meghan Schoenfelder, Elizabeth Lawson and Chelsea Vendegna.

Bachelor of Science in nursing graduates:

David Kerr, Randie McEntire, Lisa Peterson and Tim Putz