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September 04, 2014

Valedictorian is first in family to earn a Bachelor’s

South University Newsroom

Sylvia Rushing
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
Class of 2010
Columbia Campus
Employment:  RN for Palmetto Health Richland Hospital in Columbia, SC

Valedictorian is first in family to earn a Bachelor’s

Sylvia Rushing, wife, mother, and South University graduate, had been an LPN for over ten years.  She began studying nursing when she joined the U.S. Army just after high school.  It was through her military service, also, that she met her husband.  Together now for thirteen years, Sylvia and her husband are raising their two daughters. After graduation she began working as an RN at Palmetto Health Richland Hospital, and --outside of work-- this vibrant, 33-year old enjoys taking care of her family, cooking, and speaking a foreign language.

“My mother and father were of Polish decent,” Sylvia says smiling.  “And, my mom is certainly one who has inspired my whole journey.”

When Sylvia was a junior in high school, her mother was diagnosed with cancer.

“Watching her go through some of the most awful things a person can go through during cancer treatment was very difficult,” says Sylvia.  “However, I will never forget how inspiring and comforting it was to see how well she was taken care of.”

Sylvia graduated with honors in December 2010 from South University’s RN to BSN program, at the Columbia, South Carolina campus.  In fact, she was the first valedictorian from the nursing program on her campus.

“Well foremost, I am privileged to be the first in my family to get a bachelor’s degree,” she shares.  “And also, to graduate with honors from a really great program at South University is a great feeling as well.”  

She mentions Dr. Janice Morrow, an instructor and mentor at South University, who kindled Sylvia’s leadership qualities while she was a student.

“Dr. Morrow helped me see how nurses have a great ability to change lives, in very tangible and far reaching ways.  I’ve known this gift a long time, but in studying for the BSN degree I learned that there is a whole new door opening to my career in nursing that I never knew existed.”

Sylvia has future plans to return to South University where she wants to earn her Master’s degree in nursing at the Tampa, Florida, campus.  

“What encourages me to the next level of my career is the same thing, I think, that drives many people who’ve found a profound purpose in life.  At the end of the day, I want to feel that I have done something important, and despite any adversity in life, I really believe dreams are not only essential to be a happy person – with hard work, dreams can be attained.”

Sylvia smiles and says she gets “a warm fuzzy feeling” from reaching goals.  “It only takes a glimmer of success and then, that one step of achievement just moves me forward and I want to keep building on to it to see what happens next!”