Call her “Nurse” Donna Karan — an honorary title the internationally renowned fashion designer earned at the graduation of the largest class in the history of Phillips Beth Israel School of Nursing. Along with 114 students who completed the rigorous associate degree program, Karan received her honorary diploma from Phillips Beth Israel Co-Chairs Janet Green and Ruth Nerken, who presided over the ceremonies.
Addressing the new inductees into the time-honored nursing profession, Karan recounted her personal journey — evolving from the challenges of producing a collection as her mentor was losing the battle with breast cancer while she was in the throes of giving birth to her daughter, Gabby%u2026through her late husband Stephan’s valiant fight against lung cancer — and now her efforts through the Urban Zen Foundation, to help cancer patients, their loved ones and caregivers at Beth Israel Medical Center, parent institution of Phillips Beth Israel.
“Her life story is immensely touching%u2026 she uttered words from her heart that directly touched the hearts of everyone in attendance,” said Janet Mackin, RN, EdD, dean of the school. “Donna Karan is more than an honorary nurse, she embodies the very essence of what makes our profession special%u2026she truly cares.”
As Beth Israel Interim President Harris N. Nagler, MD, acknowledged the work of the faculty, he remarked on the moving tributes expressed by members of the Class of 2009 in their yearbook and congratulated them on their accomplishment.
Valedictorian El Katz received the Seymour J. Phillips Award for highest scholastic achievement. It was presented by the late benefactor’s daughter, Carol P. Green, Beth Israel honorary trustee and member, Committee on Phillips Beth Israel.