The School of Physical Therapy in the Anderson University College of Health Professions is graduating its first class.
These 28 graduates of the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) will be receiving their degrees during commencement December 4 on the historic Alumni Lawn.
Dr. Martha Hinman, chair of the School of Physical Therapy, says the graduation of Anderson University’s inaugural DPT class is not only a major milestone in university history, it also happens to coincide with the centennial celebration of the physical therapy profession.
“What a blessed journey it has been! The planning of this program actually began about 15 years ago as part of Dr. Whitaker’s vision for AU’s academic development. The investment that the AU administration provided for this new doctoral program clearly demonstrates their commitment to the values which support that vision,” Dr. Hinman said. “Although I had the privilege of being the Founding Chair of the School of Physical Therapy, its legacy rests on the efforts of the faculty and students who worked so hard to make it a success.”
Dr. Donald Peace, dean of the College of Health Professions, credits strong bonds between the physical therapy students and their professors during the program’s beginnings.
“This first class of students is very special to me. They obviously came into a program that was under development and are graduating in a program that is recognized as an academically and professionally strong program,” Dr. Peace said. “The development of this program is strengthened by the commitment of our students, our faculty and staff and Anderson University. Without a doubt, I am confident in the skills, abilities and acumen that these new professionals have to excel in their roles as physical therapists. I am personally very proud of each and every student in this program and I wish them the absolute best as they enter their chosen profession as physical therapist.”
When graduate Cassie Bier underwent extensive physical therapy following surgeries for knee injuries, she felt God was calling her into physical therapy.
“Through internships and injury, my desire to engage myself in my education and career has matured and flourished,” said Bier, who also has her bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from AU. “I am passionate about helping people decrease their pain and gain appreciation for their bodies by the way God designed them to heal from minor or traumatic injuries.” She appreciates her years at Anderson for the opportunities to play women’s basketball as a Trojan and to be part of three conference championships. She’ll also never forget lifelong friendships forged along the way.
Christina Barrington also was inspired by her physical therapist while being treated for a sport-related injury. Graduating with her DPT marks the fulfillment of a dream she’s had ever since high school.
“My PT was so knowledgeable about the human body, but was also able to form a genuine relationship with me. I’ve been chasing this career ever since,” Barrington said. “While there have been many challenging instances throughout my time in PT school, I can honestly say that I’m thankful for the growth. I’ve made wonderful friends here at AU and I wouldn’t have been able to get through the program without them.”
Dr. Hinman noted that, for half of this year’s graduates, the DPT degree will be the second degree they earned at AU.
“What better way to honor your alma mater! Our program’s motto has been ‘Serving Him by serving others,’ and I have no doubt that these 28 new therapists will carry that spirit of Christian service with them wherever God leads them in the future,” Hinman said. “I am quite certain that each of them will leave their own positive mark on this world.”