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Elon graduates largest class in DPT program history

University leaders conferred degrees Sunday afternoon on 58 graduate students in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program, which for the first time hosted its Commencement ceremony in McCrary Theatre.

Elon University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program graduated its largest class in program history on Sunday in a new venue large enough to accommodate graduates and their families, and with a familiar face whose Commencement address offered parting advice for the future physical therapists.

The Dec. 14, 2014, afternoon ceremony in McCrary Theatre for the DPT program's 58 graduates featured remarks from Cynthia Lewis, an associate professor emerita of Elon University and a founding faculty member of the Department of Physical Therapy Education.

Lewis encouraged the graduates to "live into their greatness" by not shying from their passion to help others. Citing a passage from author Marianne Williamson's book "A Return to Love," Lewis said it doesn't serve the world to hold back energy or enthusiasm for a cause.

“As we live into our greatness," she said, "we will unconsciously give permission to others to live into theirs."

Plus, passion sometimes is the only way to thank those who made your success possible. Lewis said her own passion for teaching is motivated by that belief. “I hope for you the same degree of fulfillment and reward in your career as I have had in mind,” she said.

Associate Professor Emerita Cynthina Lewis

The Commencement ceremony also recognized Michael Sherk G’02 G’05, an outpatient therapist and center coordinator for clinical education at Cone Health-Alamance Regional Medical Center. Sherk has mentored numerous Elon DPT students on their clinical experiences and serves as a lab assistant for clinical skills courses, which earned him Elon’s 2014 Outstanding Clinical Instructor Award.

University President Leo M. Lambert closed the program with a charge to graduates in which he told them to "hold your lamps high" as they "bring light to darkened places" with the core values an Elon education represents - a commitment to excellence that demands they challenge mediocrity, a passion for a life of learning, personal integrity that may mean taking an unpopular road at times, a respect for human difference, and an ethic of service.

“The quality of this physical therapy program and our School of Health Sciences is a point of pride for this entire university and the broader community,” Lambert said. “Your work, along with the contributions of students in our physician assistant studies program, is a powerful example of what can happen when engaged learning and compassionate care come together.

“By sharing your talents, your dedication, and your good minds and hearts, you have left a lasting impact on the quality of health care in our community and on the well-being of its citizens. I cannot think of a more worthwhile legacy.”

2014 DPT honorees:

Outstanding Research Award: Elizabeth Corwin
Outstanding Clinical Performance Award: Rachel Elaine Schaal Wilson
Outstanding Student Award: Jennifer Lynn McGrath
Outstanding Clinical Instructor Award: Michael Sherk G’02 G’05, P.T., D.P.T.

Candidates for the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree:

Keely Ann Ackard
B.S., Clemson University

Grant Allen Banks
B.S., Furman University

Julie Ann Banta
B.S., Ohio University

Lindsey Frances Belliveau
B.S., The University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Maksim Birikov
B.S., Villa Julie College

Caroline Elizabeth Broujos
B.S., Wake Forest University

Matthew Garrott Burress
B.S., Radford University

Jaclyn Nicole Camarato
B.S., Miami University

Adam Ross Carter
B.S., Ohio University

Christopher Ryan Chance
B.S., Appalachian State University

Jennifer Blair Ciucevich
B.S., Texas A&M University

Marcia Ann Cline
B.S., University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Elizabeth JeanMarie Corwin
B.S., University of Oregon

Jaimie Marie Cunningham
B.S., Furman University

Cash Riley DeWitt
B.S., James Madison University

Amy Elizabeth DiTommaso
B.S., The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Kaylor Elizabeth Drehoff
B.S., University of Maryland

Lucas Hunter Farrow
B.S., Furman University

Marissa D. Fedorcha
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Kathryn Anne Freeman
B.S., Appalachian State University

Travis L. Gerrald
B.S., Clemson University

Tezia Sade Gonzales
B.S., University of Central Florida

Jessica Ashley Gulley
B.S., The University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Ashton N. Hardison
B.S., Campbell University

Jackie Lynn Hartig
B.S., The Ohio State University

Robert Lawrence Hensley
B.S., College of Charleston

Bryan Neal Isbell
B.S., Truman State University

Marcus Alexander Ivey
B.S., North Carolina Wesleyan College

Bradley Forest Jennings
B.S., Niagara University

Aron Christian Lippard
B.S., Montreat College

Katherine Anne Long
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Kaitlin Ann Luffman
B.S., The University of North Carolina at Charlotte

John Ryan Magill
B.A., Fort Lewis College at Chicago

Steven M. Marsh
B.S., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Tyler James McClurg
B.S., The University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Mandi Lynn McCoy
B.S., University of Idaho

Jennifer Lynn McGrath
B.S., Minnesota State University Mankato

Christy Lynn Oxendine
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Kristian André Partney
B.S., The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Caitlin Elise Penven-Crew
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Kristen Nichole Peschock
B.S., Barton College

Margaret Diana Wantz Phillips
B.S., Warren Wilson College

Hayley Nicole Price
B.S., Texas Christian University

Reneé DeVos Riggs
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Sarah Elizabeth Rodgers
B.S., Appalachian State University

Jeremy Michael Schain
B.S., Furman University

Jesse Dean Scheidecker
B.S., Saint Cloud State University

Jeffery James Scott, Jr.
B.S., Clemson University

Jessica Meredith Sloop
B.S., North Carolina State University

Lauren Ashley Smeltz
B.S., West Virginia University

James Daniel Stout
B.S., Messiah College

Jennifer Lynn Streeter
B.S., East Carolina University

Christiana Lynn Underdown
B.S., Olivet Nazarene University

Kristen E. Unger
B.S., Virginia Tech

Teresa Elizabeth Walsh
B.S., The University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Rachel Elaine Schaal Wilson
B.S., The University of North Carolina at Asheville

Francesco Paul Worley
B.S., Elon University

Andrew Christopher Young
B.A., Hope College

Eric Townsend,
12/15/2014 12:20 PM