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Johnson ’85 to speak at July 25 Nursing Capping, Pinning and White Coat Ceremony

July 18, 2019

Contact: Brittney Dabney, Office of Communications, Public Realtions and Marketing

Dr. Rolanda Pierce Johnson

Tuskegee University’s School of Nursing and Allied Health will host its Summer Capping, Pinning and White Coat Ceremony on Thursday, July 25. The event, beginning at 3 p.m. in the University Chapel, will include remarks from second-generation Tuskegee graduate, Dr. Rolanda Pierce Johnson.

This summer’s graduating nursing class is the largest since the mid-1980s. Each of the 28 seniors will receive their nursing pins and monogramed white coats, provided by the Tuskegee University National Nursing Alumni Association (TUNNAA). Additionally, each will receive a commemorative white coat pin from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

In keeping with the Tuskegee nursing tradition, 27 juniors who have completed two of the professional nursing program’s five semesters will receive their nursing caps. The capping ceremony has historically symbolized these students’ transition to their professional nursing education journey.

Johnson, a native of Montgomery, Alabama, is a 1985 nursing alumna who in 1998 earned a master’s of nursing degree focusing on adult health from Troy State University. She went on to receive her post-professional doctorate in nursing in the same year from Vanderbilt University. Currently, she is the assistant dean for academics, assistant dean for diversity and inclusion, and an associate professor of nursing at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing.

Her career spans more than 20 years, during which time she has provided leadership for a variety of initiatives. These include directing the Fisk University–Vanderbilt University Nursing Partnership Program, re-establishing the school’s Black Student Nurses Organization, and representing Vanderbilt’s School of Nursing in campus-wide programs that included the Provost’s Task Force on Sexual Assault, FutureVU Faculty Advisory Committee, and the Chancellor’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee. This past academic year, Johnson worked to establish the Hispanic and Latino Student Nurses’ Organization at Vanderbilt. In addition, she was the first African-American to hold a vice-chair position in Vanderbilt’s Faculty Senate.

Johnson founded and served as the first president of the Nashville Chapter of the National Black Nurses Association. She is a fellow and current mentor of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Minority Fellowship Alumni Program, a member of the American Association of Nursing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Group, the American Nurses Association, Tennessee Nurses Association, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., and the Tuskegee University National Nursing Alumni Association, for which she serves as the Membership Committee chairperson and member of the Education Committee. She was recently honored as a Vanderbilt Pioneer for her role with the Faculty Senate and the School of Nursing.

Johnson is married to Rev. Carl Johnson, and together they are parents to Macii, Aryonna and Joycelynne. She is the daughter of James Pierce (Tuskegee class of 1958) and the late Mary Pierce (Tuskegee class of 1962), and sister to James M. Pierce (Tuskegee class of 1992).

Tuskegee University’s summer commencement exercises are scheduled to begin on Friday, July 26, at 10 a.m. in the University Chapel. For more information about commencement-related events, visit

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