Last week the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences hosted nine virtual commencements over five days, which recognized four of the University’s campuses, programs in California, Florida and Texas, and post-professional students, celebrating 454 fall graduates. Each of the ceremonies started with images of students and various group activities from the past two years and concluded with a compilation slide show of graduates and their individually stated commitments to being a force for good.
During each commencement, student awards were presented, program directors conducted the presentation of candidates and then friends or family members for each student were asked to hood the graduates.
Following are a few highlights from these uplifting graduation ceremonies. To watch, please visit https://portal.stretchinternet.com/usahs/ and click the on-demand tab.
Chief Academic Officer Dr. Brian Goldstein told the graduates, “Each of you has answered a calling—a calling to care for your community. You brought your special gifts to this University, which were evident by us from the day we met.”
Chief Executive Officer Vivian Sanchez asked graduates to focus and reflect on three themes: “How did you arrive here; how did you thrive in these challenging times, and thirdly, despite the happiness you feel today, why are your best celebrations yet to come?”
“Today, the University of St. Augustine for Health Science’s movement has a network of nearly 11,000 exceptional alumni working across 50 states in this country,” she continued.
“Today, you become part of this national movement in the continued transformation of our society. Realize that every patient will view you as their hope, placing their trust in you. You will have in your power the ability to touch their lives, with your hands, with your hearts and with your words. When you do, at that moment, you’ll have your greatest celebrations.”
During the Miami Doctor of Physical Therapy commencement, Sanchez recognized a first in our University’s distinguished history. Two years ago, the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAPT) established a national student honor society, Delta Phi Tau. “In just two years, we have our first inductee. We are so proud of this inaugural inductee and look forward to many more inductees at this university,” she said.
Dr. Erwina Kwan was named as the University’s first ACAPT National Student Honor Society Award recipient. The award recognizes excellence, integrity and professionalism in academic achievements, leadership, service or research through strong character, ethics and values of the physical therapy profession.
Dr. Kwan also gave the student address for this commencement and shared three life lessons she’s learned that she hopes students will take into their careers:
- “Every day may not be a good day, but there is something good in every day. So, even if you have a bad day, I challenge you to always reflect on the good in every day.
- If we never step out of our comfort zone, we’re never going to go anywhere new.
And lastly, when you get the choice to sit out or dance, I hope you always choose to dance.”
Another student speaker, Christina Crumb from the Austin, TX campus, reminded us how healthcare has seen a tremendous change in the past two years since starting school, and what a unique perspective we now have because of the pandemic.
“The valuable experience during our clinical rotations has provided us with a unique opportunity to learn in a slightly different environment. And lessons in flexibility proves we can handle anything thrown at us.”
Crumb continued, “Though this year looked a little bit different and seems fitting to describe all the things that we lost, I would rather like to flip the script and change things up a bit. In 2020 we came together to unite as future rehab professionals—the year we learned how important diversity is to our profession and the year that putting our patients first became our biggest priority.”
Dr. Kelly Mounts gave the student address for the St. Augustine, FL campus post-professional commencement. “Ruth Bader Ginsburg once said, ‘I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talents she had to do her work to the very best of her ability.’ Let us all go out into this world to use our talent and make this world better today than it was yesterday.”