GOSHEN — The three-year journey to achieve a degree in the Family Nurse Practitioner program at Goshen College hasn’t been easy for Alicia Navarro of Middlebury.

But as Navarro prepared to receive her diploma during Goshen College's commencement ceremony Sunday, she knew the climb toward her goal was worth every sacrifice.

“I have finally arrived at where I’m supposed to be, it’s pretty priceless,” Navarro said. “I’ve been thinking about being an nurse practitioner for a long time because I always felt like God always had this plan for me. I’m a pretty spiritual person and feel God had this plan for me to do more, be more and be greater than I could possibly imagine even in my mind.”

Navarro was one of 241 graduates to walk across the stage Sunday afternoon in the Roman Gingerich Recreation-Fitness Center.

Hundreds gathered in the gymnasium to celebrate the graduates' accomplishments and bid farewell to outgoing Goshen College President Jim Brenneman who previously announced plans to resign from his position at the end of the 2016-17 school year.

About Navarro

Navarro graduated from Goshen College in 2001 with a bachelors of science in nursing. She’s been a traveling nurse and has worked in med surg, intensive care and education for hospital-wide programs and orientation programs at Sturgis Hospital in Sturgis, Michigan, for 13 years.

“I’m glad to have had a little dabble in different areas to broaden my horizon,” Navarro said. “I love my job but I’d been thinking about being a nurse practitioner for eight to nine years.”

She said her husband, Carlos, asked her if the age of 37 was too old go back to college.

“I got so mad at him, so mad, but he knew that’s what I needed to get me fired up,” Navarro said. “I knew God had something more in store for me. Within a month, I had signed up for the (family nurse practitioner) program. I’ve come a long way.”

Navarro said she’s had to sacrifice family time with her two children, Lucas, 8, and Sophia, 7.

“My Sophia drew a picture of me sitting at a desk because that’s what I do best and what she has seen me do for three years,” she said. “I’ve spent many late nights in my office studying. I’ve worn out two chairs at my desk, but it’s so rewarding to know I’m fulfilling my calling. It fills my soul.”

Navarro said the program has been very intense with 675 clinical hours in addition to attending classes, homework and papers.

“I will have my life back and it will be better than it was,” she said. “It’ll be such a blessing. I’m full of gratitude to know I have the ability to impact the lives of other people. I want to change the world and when I change one person’s world, I change the world for people. It makes me feel pretty darn good. It’s amazing.”

Follow Sherry on Twitter @svanarsdall_TGN

The Goshen College 2017 commencement ceremony was held in the Roman Gingerich Recreation-Fitness Center on the campus with Luis Fraga, co-director of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame, as the commencement speaker.

There were a total of 241 graduates with the following degrees:

• Bachelor of arts, 148

• Bachelor of science nursing, 13

• Bachelor of science, 56

• MSN/family nurse practitioner, 16

• Masters business administration, 5

• Masters environmental education, 3

The 2017 graduating class includes 141 graduates from Indiana as well as 21 graduates from other states and nine graduates from other countries. Forty-four graduates received highest honors.

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