Elon Alumni Association

Distinguished Physical Therapy Alumnus Award

The Distinguished Physical Therapy Alumnus Award is given frequently at the Department of Physical Therapy Education's Commencement Exercises in December. The faculty of the Department of Physical Therapy select a graduate of the program who has made significant contributions to the profession and have brought honor to the department and Elon.

The inaugural Distinguished Physical Therapy Alumnus Award was given in 2010.

2012 recipient

M. Dyer Diehl, M.P.T., Ph.D.

Diehl currently serves as assistant professor, Krannert School of Physical Therapy at the University of Indianapolis. After graduating from Elon University’s Master of Physical Therapy program in 2001, he entered clinical practice at Cumberland County Health Care System. From 2003 until 2007, he attended Virginia Commonwealth University where he obtained his Ph.D. During the five years since joining the faculty at the University of Indianapolis, he has given 13 peer-reviewed presentations and has published five peerreviewed articles. His research has focused on exercise and quality of life for persons with Parkinson’s disease.

2010 recipient

Rafael F. Escamilla, Ph.D., P.T., C.S.C.S., F.A.C.S.M.

Escamilla received his master of physical therapy degree from Elon in 2002 and went on to serve as a professor at California State University, Sacramento, for several years. He pursued a rigorous program of research that established him as an expert in the biomechanics of the shoulder, elbow and knee joints, catching the attention of renowned sports medicine practitioner, James Andrews. Andrews asked Escamilla to join The Andrews Institute, a world-class orthopedics and sports medicine center, in 2007. Escamilla now seres as director of research at the center, located in Gulf Breeze, Fla. He lives with his wife, Jill, and their daughters, Isabella and Gabrielle.