It was a short walk toward a handshake and a diploma at the 2013 graduating ceremonies of the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing. But Dean Martha Hill, PhD, RN, FAAN, urged the grads, no matter how far they go from here, to never forget what carried them: passion.

“Think very carefully about what you’re passionate about, and focus your attention and your skills and your knowledge on following that passion,” the keynote speaker told the 225 graduates gathered with families and friends at the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center Hippodrome Theatre in Baltimore.

In  total, 118 undergraduate and 107 graduate School of Nursing (JHUSON) students attended the ceremony. A majority of the grad students, 60, received a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), while 20 received a joint MSN and Master of Public Health (MPH), two received an MSN and Master of Business Administration, 17 received a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP), and eight were awarded a PhD.

“The knowledge you have gained is knowledge for you to take to the world,” Hill said. “So your diploma today is your passport, your ticket. And it represents the Hopkins brand of excellence. … Whatever you do, and wherever you do it, you will be a Hopkins Nurse, and we will be very, very proud of you.”

Hill told the class that “it’s been an enormous privilege to be able to lead the school to fulfilling its potential,” and closed by quoting the “very famous and important philosopher, Dr. Seuss” from Oh, the Places You’ll Go! His words, she said, seemed to speak to her own transition from dean back to her research and teaching at JHUSON as well as their transition from nursing students to nursing leaders:

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head
And you have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
In any direction you choose
You’re on your own
And you know what you know
And YOU are the one
Who’ll decide where to go
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will indeed!
98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting
So... get on your way!”

See Dean Hill’s full speech and the rest of the ceremony.