Alcorn honors outstanding student with Award of Excellence

During the 2024 Alcorn State University Commencement Ceremony, Kennedi Fitzgerald, a Vicksburg native and nursing student, was recognized with the University’s Student Award of Excellence. This honor recognizes a student for their contributions and achievement in scholarship, demonstrated leadership, participation in extracurricular activities, and record of community and public service.

The 2024 Student Award of Excellence was a collaboration between the ASU Foundation, Inc., and the Myrlie Evers Williams Honors Program. Kennedi was chosen by the interview committee as embodying the values of perseverance while making a positive impact. With a passion for helping others, she aspires to specialize in pediatric nursing.

Dr. Shirley Evers-Manly, interim dean of the School of Nursing, attested to Kennedi’s excellent qualifications.

“Kennedi exhibits everything you envision when thinking about what a nurse should be,” she said. She is “old school” in her work ethic. “She showed compassion to every community we served and the patients she interfaced with during her clinical rotations. She has volunteered at several COVID-19 vaccination and testing clinics for the ASU Department of Athletics, the Mississippi Delta, and surrounding communities in Mississippi.  She recently joined me in Washington, D.C., where she made an impact on health policy for nurses and health disparities in Mississippi at Congressman Bennie Thompson’s and Senator Cindy Hyde Smith’s offices.”

“Kennedi’s day-to-day interactions with some of the more challenging situations never seemed to deter her from the mission of providing quality care,” Dr. Evers-Manly said. “Because of her academics, honor, and service, she was inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honor Society.”

Registered Nurse Kennedi Turner, a preceptor at Children’s of Mississippi Hospital – Blair E. Batson Tower, had this to say about Kennedi Fitzgerald.

“Kennedi precepted with me for the past month. During this time, she witnessed a rapid response on a patient in respiratory distress and also had a trach patient who was only 2 months old! Kennedi advocated for her patients and took the time to comfort and care for them outside of medicine. She was an excellent and quick learner and did not mind asking questions on the things she did not understand. She exemplified professionalism during her entire time with me. I have no doubt that she will do well during her nursing career.”

Dr. Wandra Arrington, chair of the interview committee and director of the Myrlie Evers Williams Honors Program, said, “Ms. Fitzgerald was able to manage both academics and campus activities with leadership abilities and assisted her fellow students with assignments and projects whenever needed. As she leaves the University, Ms. Fitzgerald will be a positive Alcorn representative and encompass the best values of the University.”

During her time at Alcorn, Kennedi was actively involved in various campus organizations including the Delta Epsilon chapter president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and Girl’s Coalition community service director. She was Khem Klub treasurer, a member of the cheer team from 2021-2024, Miss Cheerleader 2023-2024, a member of the Student Nurses Association, Miss Krimson and Kream for Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc, 2022-2023, and 2021-2022 Freshman Class president.

She is a member of the National Black Nurses Association, National Society of Leadership and Success Honor Society, Golden Key International Honor Society, National Society of Black Women in Medicine, and The Collegiate 100 Women of ASU. Her ultimate goal is to continue serving others, fostering educational development, and promoting social action in her pursuit of a fulfilling career in nursing.

Kennedi plans to enroll in a doctoral-certified registered nurse anesthetist program to become a chief CRNA in a pediatric hospital.