AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF)- It’s the start of an important weekend for many students at Augusta University– graduation weekend.

The commencement ceremonies are Saturday, but Friday is an important right of passage for graduates of the College of Nursing- the pinning ceremony for new nurses graduating from the program.

The traditional ceremony signifies their transition from student to nurse.

Many nursing students feel this ceremony means more than commencement because it’s a symbol of their hard work and dedication.

Class president, Jacob Sumpter, agrees.

“It is a very special, very intimate ceremony. It is just you and the class whereas commencement is more of the graduating class as a whole. And pinning is also special because you are one to one with those professors and they are actually pinning you at the ceremony,” he explained.

Sumpter is a graduate of Davidson Fine Arts and got his bachelor’s degree at the University of Georgia. He took a gap year to work in the medical field so he could be sure that was the career he wanted.

He said he always knew he would come back to Augusta University for nursing school.

There will also be a hooding ceremony which is a special recognition for students, like Sumpter, who have earned their masters degree. Sumpter said he has looked forward to this day for a long time.

“Oh my goodness– it’s— I can’t even put it into words. I’ve been telling people this entire, past two or three weeks it does not feel real to have my every day, which has been like, going to class, going to school, going to clinicals, doing that– to finally come to an end.”

Sumpter said that even though many still think of nurses as being female, he believes that will change soon and he hopes to be a role model for other men who are interested in nursing.

The pinning ceremony will take place Friday at 1 p.m. at the Maxwell Theater on AU’s Summerville campus.

Saturday’s graduation ceremonies will be at the Augusta Marriott Convention Center at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. (Correction: we state in the video that the graduation ceremonies are at 1 p.m and 6 p.m. They are actually at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.)

Photojournalist: Will Baker.