Brian Bellomy and his family celebrate after the 2016 Graduation Recognition Ceremony.

Brian Bellomy and his family celebrate after the 2016 Graduation Recognition Ceremony.

Bachelor of science in nursing graduate Charles Baldwin addresses the crowd during the 2016 pinning ceremony.

Bachelor of science in nursing graduate Charles Baldwin addresses the crowd during the 2016 pinning ceremony.

Photo courtesy of: Jeffrey McClelland

This student’s mortarboard sums it up, “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.”

This student’s mortarboard sums it up, “Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.”

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Ohio University Southern recognizes graduates, inaugural BSN class


IRONTON, Ohio – Rows of white chairs lined the courtyard and Ohio University flags danced in the stiff breeze April 29 as the excitement on campus grew.

Ohio University Southern, in its 60th year, has recognized thousands of students during events such as this. Even so, faculty and staff share anew each year in the anticipation of congratulating a new group of graduates who have worked harder than most and sacrificed to make it to this day. 

More than half of Ohio University Southern students bring something unique to the table – life experience. These individuals are coming back to school after a career in another field, they are raising a family and working one or more jobs while pursuing their education. For them, graduation day is a time to celebrate the culmination of this hard work and to look forward to a brighter future. 

Brian Bellomy, a middle childhood education graduate, said that he is looking toward a new job as a teacher in Huntington, West Virginia, starting in the fall. “I was raising my two children and working two jobs while taking classes,” Bellomy said. “My wife and children kept pushing me and telling me I could do this. I wouldn’t be here without them.”

More than 300 Ohio University Southern diplomas were granted this spring – and 18 of these were to students who were recognized as the first graduates of the campus’ bachelor of science in nursing (BSN). 

As the former associate director of nursing at the Southern Campus, Dean Nicole Pennington knows first-hand the work that went into bringing the degree to the Southern Campus and also what it means to produce highly-qualified BSN graduates for this region. 

“I can tell you, there were moments that we didn’t think we would be here,” she said. “It took hard work, dedication and perseverance on the part of many to make this program a reality – and I’m so glad we succeeded.” 

Charles Baldwin, a BSN graduate and winner of both the Spirit of Nursing Award and Outstanding Graduate Award, has been intrigued by the medical field since he was a teenager. Baldwin said, “I wanted to be a pediatrician in high school, but at that time I didn’t know how I would pay for college— I just didn’t know how I could make it happen.” 

So, Baldwin worked and raised three children with his wife, Angela. Two of his children were born premature and spent time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). He wanted so badly to do what the nurses taking care of his children were doing. When his job at a leading retailer was eliminated, Baldwin took this as a sign that he should go back to school.

He, too, said that he couldn’t have done this without the support from family – his wife and children and also his nursing “family.” 

“My wife and sons couldn’t wait until I got home to open the acceptance letter. My son drew a picture of the campus with our van parked out front to show ‘daddy going to school.’ I am most proud of the example I could set for our children. I want them to see that they can take a leap of faith and follow their dreams.” 

He said that his nursing “family” was also a key throughout the past four years. “We couldn’t have done this without the tremendous staff and each other,” he said. “We’ve all been there for each other through tough assignments, marriages, births and deaths – just about every life event you can think of.” 

Baldwin plans to work at Kings Daughters Medical Center and he hopes to realize his dream and eventually to work in the NICU.