One of Frontier Nursing University’s (FNU) esteemed alumni, Dr. Holly Powell Kennedy, PhD, CNM, FACNM, FAAN, spoke at the 2018 commencement ceremonies on Saturday, October 20 in Hyden, Ky.
Dr. Kennedy serves as the The Helen Varney Professor of Midwifery at the Yale School of Nursing. She is an internationally known midwifery researcher and leader, and became the first person to be appointed as the Varney Professor of Midwifery at Yale in 2009.
Dr. Kennedy is Past-President of the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), a role now served by Dr. Susan Stone, President of FNU. Dr. Kennedy received the 2016 Hattie Hemschemeyer Award, the highest honor bestowed by ACNM in recognition of her contributions to research, education and practice.
She has broad experiences as a clinician, researcher, educator, policymaker and leader in a variety of settings. She now works to pass along her vision of academic and clinical scholarship in US maternal-child health care.
“We are so honored to have Dr. Kennedy as the keynote speaker for our commencement ceremony,” said FNU President and fellow FNU alumni Dr. Susan Stone.
“Dr. Kennedy’s story is inspiring and sets an example of service and leadership for all of our graduates to follow.”
In the commencement address, Dr. Kennedy spoke about how her experience as an intern and nurse practitioner with the Frontier Nursing Service (FNS) inspired her to become a nurse-midwife. She told stories about traveling to FNS for the first time in 1978, where she broadened her horizons by learning about rural health and the importance of establishing patient-provider relationships.
In the years since that experience, she held on to several truths that proved invaluable to her as a care provider.
Dr. Kennedy charged the graduates to know their community; be innovative and visionary; be disciplined; believe in their patients; and take care of themselves as they provide care to so many others.
“As you go forward as newly-minted midwives, nurse practitioners and doctorates, I want you to hold on to…lessons that I learned here at Frontier and in the years since in my research,” she said.
“They reflect the foundation that Mary Breckinridge laid so many, many years ago, and they’re the key to your future success.”
Watch Dr. Kennedy’s charge to the graduates below.
Dr. Kennedy received a diploma in nursing from Miami Valley Hospital School of Nursing, Dayton, Ohio, a bachelor’s degree from Chaminade University, Honolulu, HI, a master’s degree as a family nurse practitioner from the Medical College of Georgia, a certificate of midwifery from the Frontier School of Midwifery & Family Nursing, Hyden, KY, and a PhD in nursing from the University of Rhode Island. She has held academic positions at the University of Rhode Island and most recently at the University of California San Francisco. She holds a visiting faculty appointment at King’s College London where she was a Fulbright Distinguished Fellow in 2008.
Dr. Kennedy received Frontier Nursing University’s alumni award for Distinguished Service to Society in 2012.
More than 800 students graduated from FNU in the past 12 months, representing 47 states and 3 countries. FNU President Dr. Susan Stone presided over the commencement ceremony and degrees were conferred on graduates of FNU’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) programs. MSN graduates have completed the Nurse-Midwifery, Family Nurse Practitioner, Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner or Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialty tracks.
You can watch the entire commencement ceremony here.