DPT program holds Commencement ceremony

Elon University leaders conferred degrees Sunday on 41 candidates in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program in a Whitley Auditorium filled with family and friends of the new graduates.

Elon University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program graduated its Class of 2013 on Sunday with a Commencement speaker who challenged the new medical professionals to surround themselves with “people who think you can do more than you think you can do.”

The Dec. 8, 2013, afternoon ceremony in Whitley Auditorium featured remarks from Catherine Eckels Lang, an associate professor at Washington University in St. Louis in the physical therapy and occupational therapy programs in the School of Medicine’s Department of Neurology. Lang recently received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to study elements of stroke recovery, and she coordinates Brain Recovery Care, a partnership between her university, Barnes Jewish Hospital and The Rehabilitation Institute of St. Louis.

She offered three pieces of advide to students: associate with those people who believe you are capable of greatness, don’t confine yourself to only learning about physical therapy when the healthcare system is dynamic, and stop believing that you can find a constant work-life balance.

“You want to surround yourselves with people who think you can do more than you think you can do,” she said. Doing so offers constant motivation. “Whenever I thought there was no way I could accomplish something, others around me always thought I could do it.”

It’s also important to know how to work in teams with other medical professionals, Lang said. Knowing about other elements of medical care can make you a more productive part of any team.

“As you move on to new jobs and opportunities, you’re going to be thrown into a world where you’re just one piece of a complex healthcare system,” she said. “You need to learn about the tools of other disciplines. You need to learn what their assessments are measuring… and what those score on those assessments mean.”

The ceremony included a brief pause to recognize Sue Stovall, who established Southern Pines Physical Therapy in 2000, as recipient of the Outstanding Clinical Instructor Award. In October of 2010, Stovall was the recipient of the prestigious Founder’s Lecture Award from the North Carolina Physical Therapy Association, and shel and the physical therapists in her practice have been longtime mentors of Elon DPT students.

Stovall was unable to attend the program and Associate Professor Johanna Janssen, director of clinical education in the DPT program, led the applause in Stovall’s honor. 

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 superiority of this physical therapy program and these graduates is a point of pride for the entire university,” Lambert said. “You are the second class to graduate from our newly formed School of Health Sciences, which includes our physician assistant studies program. Both DPT and PA Studies are powerful examples of what can happen when engaged learning and compassionate care come together.”

2013 DPT honorees:

Outstanding Student Award: Caroline Terry
Outstanding Clinical Performance Award: Jesssica Kayley Storey
Outstanding Research Award: Shin-Yiing Yeung
Outstanding Clinical Instructor Award: Sue Stovall, P.T., D.P.T.

Candidates for the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree:

Jennifer Mae Alcon
B.S., The University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Daniel Robert Alford
B.S., High Point University

Alexander Dinsmore Ashworth
B.S., Georgia Southern University

John Matthew Autry
B.S., Campbell University

Allison B. Averitt
B.S., Methodist University

Staci Marie Balkan
B.S., The Ohio State University

Cristina Nicole Baric
B.S., The University of North Carolina at Wilmington

French Hope Carlson
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Andrea LaChell Clodfelter
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Jaclynn Rose Cooney
B.S., University of Dayton

Kelly Elizabeth Davis
B.S., Erskine College

Aimee Michele Kasten Demmin
B.S., University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

Marsha Nicole Edmonds
B.S., East Carolina University

Jennifer Louise Evans
B.S., Ohio Northern University

Alexandra L. Farah
B.S., The University of St. Thomas

Jamie Rachel Feldman
B.S., Elon University

Erin Lee Fitzpatrick-Jolley
B.S., Virginia Commonwealth University

Barbara Jane Gouillon
B.S., B.A., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Bryan Douglas Graham
B.S., James Madison University

Heather Mitrisin Hamilton
B.S., The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Laura Danielle Hamilton
B.S., Salisbury University

Kathryn Ann Hine
B.S., Anderson University

Jack Tyler Hollabaugh
B.S., Miami University

Jason David Huprich
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Kelsey Ryan Lenhardt
B.S., The University of North Carolina at Asheville

Abby Elizabeth Mankins
B.S., James Madison University

Stacy Eileen McGrady
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Stephen Craig Miller
B.S., Elon University

Gregory Charles Pancake
B.S., Messiah College

Stephanie McNeill Ray
B.S., East Carolina University

Stephanie Jenna Romich
B.A., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Bradley Ryan Shockley
B.S., Bluefield College

Megan Michael Siler
B.S., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Jesssica Kayley Storey
B.S., Virginia Commonwealth University

Caroline Jeanette Terry
B.S., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Brittany Grace Van Hal
B.S., Calvin College

Joshua Douglas Vaughan
B.S., Clemson University

Atwood Christine Watts
B.S., Ohio University

Michael Blair Wright
B.S., Greensboro College

Shin-Yiing Yeung
B.S., North Carolina State University

Janelle Leigh Zych
B.A., Whitworth University