Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Johnson Urges Commitment to Service in Address to NHS Graduates

GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY Luci Baines Johnson, daughter of President Lyndon Johnson, delivered Saturday’s commencement address for the School of Nursing and Health Studies.

Luci Baines Johnson, the daughter of President Lyndon Johnson and founder of LBJ Family Wealth Advisors, a family-owned wealth management firm, urged School of Nursing and Health Studies graduates to maintain their dreams, commit to service and lead a purpose-driven life in the field of health care at Saturday’s commencement.

Johnson, who attended the NHS her freshman year but left in 1966 to marry her first husband, cultivated an ethos of cura personalis in her work as a philanthropist, businesswoman and mother, she said.

“The heart of nursing is the promotion of wellness, not just the cure of disease,” Johnson said.

Although her marriage interrupted her own dream of graduating from Georgetown, the perspective Johnson developed while at the university informed her approach to life and gave her “meaning and purpose,” she said. Despite her own delayed dream, she eventually graduated from St. Edward’s University in 1997 — and finally earned her degree from Georgetown at Saturday’s ceremony, receiving an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.

“You never are too old to dream,” Johnson said. “Since I’ve left Georgetown I’ve had many dreams fulfilled in a life of volunteer service, motherhood and business.”

Although NHS graduates may be realizing their own dream of graduating from college, Johnson advised them to now adopt a new dream, emphasizing the critical role graduates will play in the health care field and how that can inform this dream.

“You’re entering professions where you are desperately needed, in a time of great specialization and great uncertainty,” Johnson said.

The service component of health care should inform graduates’ approach to their work, Johnson said. She noted the academic organization of the NHS, a school that serves as an umbrella for diverse professions dedicated to improving the human condition, ranging from health care management and policy to human science.

“As health care professionals, every day you will have the great opportunity to lose yourself in the service of others,” Johnson said. “And in return, you will find yourself again, every day.”

Volunteer service, whether in health care, social justice or politics, defined Johnson’s life, she said. She encouraged graduates to seek the same commitment to volunteer service in their own lives.

“There is simply no way to measure the joy that comes from helping a child to see, nurses to heal, schools and universities to succeed, migrant workers to get an education, gardens to grow, social justice to be advanced, your candidate to win and mostly, especially, your own children to thrive,” Johnson said. “But no matter the calling, the satisfaction of believing I might have left someone’s world a better place than I found it has made my life worth living.”

Johnson’s challenge to “keep living a purpose-driven life” centered on a commitment to service, recalling the dedication of Florence Nightingale, the founder of the modern nursing profession,  to revolutionizing the field of nursing.

“All of you must be as motivated as Florence Nightingale was to change and enhance knowledge and skills to meet expanding health care roles and health care systems,” Johnson said.

Johnson recalled her father’s fight to pass Medicare during his presidency and the need to continue the work to improve the country’s health care system in light of an aging population.

“The need for a more just health care system remains. The work continues. The Affordable Care Act had, has and will continue to have fierce opposition,” Johnson said. “Regardless of the political culture, nurses and health studies professionals have to continue their mission to be a force of reason for good.”

Despite the growing need for an improved health care system, a shortage of health care professionals and continued dedication to promoting wellness, Johnson said Georgetown graduates are ready for the challenge.

“Georgetown has prepared you to go to the frontline of crisis in health care,” she said. “With your help, the dream of a more affordable, effective health care system for all of us can come true.”

Correction: A previous version of this article called the School of Nursing and Health Studies the School of Nursing and Health Sciences in the photo caption.

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