Skip to main content.

KU School of Nursing welcomes new students during ceremony

On August 19, nearly 130 future nurses officially began their journey to joining the ranks of the most trusted profession in the world

White coat that says KU School of Nursing and Dedication Ceremony program
Each of the new students received a white coat, a symbol of the medical profession, donned with a Gold Humanism lapel pin from the Arthur P. Gold Foundation.

The University of Kansas School of Nursing welcomed the class of 2024 at its Dedication to the Profession ceremony held on the afternoon of August 19 in the Health Education Building of the University of Kansas Medical Center.

Of the 129 new Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students, 115 will study on the Kansas City campus and 14 will earn their degrees at the University of Kansas School of Nursing in Salina.

In her remarks during the ceremony, KU School of Nursing Dean Sally Maliski, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, noted the enormous opportunities that becoming a nurse affords those entering the profession.

“In a time of transition and chaos, such as we have been experiencing and are experiencing, the chance to make a difference in reshaping the next normal is boundless,” Maliski said. “Nurses at all levels will need to step up, be heard and make a difference in the future of health and health care. And nurses have never, ever been more needed than they are today.”

Each of the new students received a white coat, a symbol of the medical profession, donned with a Gold Humanism lapel pin from the Arthur P. Gold Foundation. After the students were formally inducted into one of three academic societies named after influential leaders in nursing, KU School of Nursing alumna and assistant professor Heather Nelson-Brantley, Ph.D., RN, led the future nurses in reciting together the KU Dedication to the Profession.

Students come into the program already having completed 58 hours of prerequisite and elective courses, but what led them to consider a career in nursing varies widely. Below, a few students from the Class of 2024 share their inspirations.

Ayomide Ejelonu in white coat

Ayomide Ejelonu

Hometown: Overland Park, Kansas

Campus: Kansas City

Inspiration to become a nurse: My mom. She is a nurse herself and she truly inspired me to take part in this field. Through nursing and the blessings of God, she went from a first-generation immigrant having to start completely from scratch to a successful and prosperous mother of two children.

Through her success in the nursing field, I was inspired to invest myself in the fulfilling and rewarding life of nursing.


Sally JerchaSally Jercha in white coat

Hometown: Overland Park, Kansas

Campus: Kansas City

Inspiration to become a nurse: The incredibly kind care that my husband received in 2014 during a long hospital stay and recovery from the nursing staff at a local health system left an indelible mark on me. After his recovery, I felt a compelling need to give back to our community and volunteered in many capacities, and even ran for political office in Kansas.

My search for a return to employment as a chemical engineer was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. A few months later, my youngest son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Again, I was grateful for the excellent care and education we received from the team of health professionals. Witnessing the strength and resilience of physicians and nurses as they tackled the public health crisis and hearing the call for more nurses sealed my decision: I wanted to help heal and comfort others as a nurse.

Chistopher Libert in a white coatChristopher Libert

Hometown: Alliance, Ohio

Campus: Kansas City

Inspiration to become a nurse: Part of it is being part of something larger than myself. Between the Army and now nursing, I’ve always valued being a part of a team for a collective task or mission. Some of the best human interactions I’ve seen or been a part of happened because people of different backgrounds, beliefs and values worked together toward a common goal.

Being part of a nursing team is just a continuation of that. The second part of it is seeing how committed nurses are to their craft and how respected they are because of that commitment. I look forward to working beside nursing professionals who share the same desire to help people. 

Kate WeisKate Weis in white coat

Hometown: Salina, Kansas

Campus: Salina, Kansas 

Inspiration to become a nurse: I grew up around several powerful women who aided in the development of the health field and have inspired me to do the same within my future career. While I have contemplated a diverse range of health focused occupations, I have ultimately decided that nursing is the best fit for me.

A career in nursing will allow me to explore a wide variety of career opportunities and will give me the chance to form personal connections with my patients. I am so thankful to be able to achieve my goal of becoming a nurse at the University of Kansas these next two years.

Media Inquiries


News and Media Relations