Alysa Kline

Joliet, Ill.  – The Lincoln Academy of Illinois recently honored top students representing Illinois’ colleges and universities with the 46th annual Lincoln Academy Student Laureate virtual ceremony on November 10. University of St. Francis (USF) senior Alysa Ann Kline, a nursing major from Joliet, was one of 55 students named to the Class of 2020 Student Laureates.

“Being named as USF’s 2020 Student Laureate is truly an honor. Helping others has given me a sense of purpose and becoming a Student Laureate has only fueled my drive to create a community that I want my children, our future generations, and our family to grow old in. I believe it is obligatory to be a good citizen, great role model, and to advocate for others,” Kline said.

Kline, who was nominated for the award by USF Leach College of Nursing faculty members Lynnann Murphy, MSN, R.N.; Megan Vasecka, MSN, R.N.; Julie Bialas, MSN, FNP-C; and USF Academic Resource Center assistant director, Joanna Kourtidis, added that she now recognizes the future impact that effort put into today can create.

“(President Abraham) Lincoln said it best in his annual message to congress, ‘the fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation.’ Therefore, through this award, I realize that a single person like myself can have a ripple effect that lasts generations. This award has been subtle reminder that my work, our work, within the community is never done,” she said.

As she enters the final semester of her undergraduate studies at USF, Kline believes that USF has prepared her well to make a difference within her field.

“Nursing school is challenging and the thought of obtaining a job after graduation is daunting to some. Through state-of-the-art high-fidelity simulation labs, extensive hands-on training, clinical practice in a wide variety of settings, and career support services, USF has made me feel confident in my transition from student nurse to new graduate RN. Furthermore, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to see firsthand what it means to be a nurse who advocates, is passionate, thoughtful, patient, dedicated, and culturally aware by observing my own nursing instructors in action,” Kline said.

After graduating in spring 2021, Kline looks to begin her career working in a hospital setting focused on children with critical needs.

“I want to specialize in critical care and work as a PICU (pediatric intensive care unit) nurse. I grew up in a small, rural area, where access to healthcare was limited. My own person experience and knowledge as a student nurse has inspired me to want to work in a critical shortage facility before returning to school to complete my master’s degree studies. I am confident that whichever path I choose will be rewarding and one of service,” Kline said.

About the Lincoln Academy Student Laureate Virtual Ceremony

The 46th annual Lincoln Academy Student Laureate virtual ceremony recognized excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities by seniors from each of the state’s four-year, degree-granting colleges and universities, and one student from the community colleges in Illinois. 

The Zoom production included a congratulatory statement by Governor J.B. Pritzker, the President of the Lincoln Academy. Academy Vice Chancellor, The Honorable Ron Spears, gave the invocation and Chancellor Frank Clark provided welcoming remarks. Four Laureates of The Lincoln Academy spoke to each of the four recognized pillars Abraham Lincoln’s leadership, which include: Courage, 2012 Lincoln Laureate and 1990 Student Laureate Jean Driscoll; empathy, 2005 Lincoln Laureate and past Academy Chancellor Stephanie Pace Marshall, Ph.D.; honesty, 2019 Laureate George Will; and integrity, 2014 Laureate Michael “Coach K” Krzyzewski.

Student Laureates will also receive a letter and certificate of merit signed by Gov. Pritzker, a Lincoln medallion, a challenge coin, and a $500 check from The Lincoln Academy. Student Laureates were selected by their individual schools.

In addition to honoring the state’s Student Laureates, Illinois is unique in the United States in selecting present or former citizens who have made outstanding contributions toward the progress and betterment of humanity to be honored as Laureates of the Lincoln Academy and receive the “Order of Lincoln” from the Governor, a process that has been in place since 1964.

Proceeds from the spring Laureate Convocation are used to support the Student Laureate program each fall. For more information or to view the ceremony, visit or any of The Lincoln Academy’s social media sites.

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Currently celebrating 100 years of higher education rooted in Franciscan values, the University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves close to 4,000 students nationwide and offers undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and certificate programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 51,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit

University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.

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