OCC Alum Surprised with Nursing Pin at Daughter’s Graduation 22 Years Later

Kathleen Lehman graduated from OCC in 2000 with everything she needed for her nursing degree, except her pin. At the time, she was raising several children and could not afford one. On June 26, 22 years later, during her daughter’s Surgical Technology graduation at OCC’s Southfield Campus, Chancellor Peter Provenzano and Lehman’s daughter Megan Chalk surprised her with her very own—and well-earned—nursing pin. 

Kethleen Lehman
Kathleen Lehman (front left) and daughter Megan Chalk at the pinning ceremony with (left to right) OCC’s Provost Jennifer Berne; Board Chair Pamela Jackson; Anita Caponi, Program Director for Surgical Technology; Chancellor Peter Provenzano; and Lynn Cherry, Interim Dean of Health Professions.

Chalk is part OCC’s 2022 Surgical Technology graduating class and was only six years old when her mother graduated from nursing school. As Lehman walked up to receive her pin at the dais, she first stopped by to give her daughter a long hug. 

After Provenzano presented Lehman with her long overdue nursing pin, she thanked everyone and gave an impromptu inspiring speech that is reminiscent of a TED Talk. Lehman began by welcoming the new graduates to the world of healing, and went on to share some of the wisdom she has gained working as a nurse. 

Advice for nurses and surgical technicians 

“Watching the staff, nurses, doctors and techs all work together is a true team. Always, always remember that you need each other. Communication is the biggest trait that you’ll take with you. Talk to your patients.” 

Why she loves her job 

“I love being a nurse because I love to lay a loving hand on [my] patients and you’re going to get to do the same. They might not remember you but you’ll get to do that too.” 

Video of Lehman’s speech is found on OCC’s Instagram account, where it has already received nearly ten thousand views. 

“It’s hard to believe she came up with the speech on the spot,” Lehman’s daughter Megan commented. “She is an incredible woman, incredible nurse, incredible mother.” 

This heartwarming surprise serves as a hopeful reminder that it is never too late to be recognized for your achievements. It is a moment that the 2022 Surgical Technology graduating class will surely never forget. 

About OCC

Offering nearly 100 degrees and certificates, OCC is Michigan’s largest multi-campus community college and one of the top transfer institutions in the state. The College provides academic, career training and enriching experiences, designed to empower students to reach their potential and enhance our community. More than 1 million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. A seven-person Board of Trustees governs OCC. Board members are elected on a non-partisan, at-large basis, serve as volunteers and are not paid. Mission statement: OCC is committed to empowering our students to succeed and advancing our community. Learn more at oaklandcc.edu.   
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