Doctor of Physical Therapy Class of 2020 charged to make a difference in the lives of others

Photo: Dr. Brad Myers working with students prior to spring 2020.

The fifth cohort of Doctor of Physical Therapy students never dreamed their last year of DPT school would have taken shape the way it did. But this resilient group overcame the challenges of 2020 and pulled together to graduate on December 11 during the University’s virtual commencement.

A virtual Convocation Ceremony separate from the virtual graduation livestream allowed the DPT faculty, staff, students and families time together to celebrate the past three years’ journey. Dr. Priscilla Weaver, program director, presided over the event, which included faculty remarks from Dr. Deborah Constantine, assistant professor of Physical Therapy, and Dr. Greg Dedrick, founding director.

“There is a good chance that you went into physical therapy because you wanted to help other people,” Dr. Weaver said. “I hope that your time here reinforced your desire to make a difference in the lives of others. You will touch people’s lives. You will remember them and they will remember you. Do not forget to listen to others, learn from your experiences, and love what you are doing.”

Student Award recipients were honored as well.During the ceremony, each student was presented a Kivett lapel pin and a loved one pinned it on the student’s lapel. Next, the 41 honorees, along with all DPTs present, read the DPT Oath. Award winners are listed below:

  • The Clinical Excellence Award: Shelby Diachenko
  • The Leadership Award: Sarah Hanvy
  • The Dr. Angela Griffin Community Service Memorial Award: Peter Soares
  • The Rural Health Award: Alma Crouch
  • The Academic Excellence Award: Olivia Bloom

Weaver commented, “The pinning represented the dedication and hard work to achieve graduation. The reading of the DPT Oath signifies what it means to be a member of the physical therapy profession and is the right of passage from a student to a professional.

“The profession of physical therapy requires physical therapists to embody competence, integrity, morality, altruism, and a commitment to the promotion of public good.”


The Clinical Excellence Award – Shelby Diachenko

Purpose: To recognize a graduating DPT student who has demonstrated significant improvement or consistent qualities of clinical excellence through professionalism, clinical skills, and commitment to promoting the physical therapy profession. Criteria for selection includes successful integration of didactic knowledge into clinical practice, feedback

from clinical instructors related to outstanding professional behaviors, commitment to the mission of the DPT Program through rural-based clinical activities, interprofessional activities, compassionate patient- centered care, and demonstrated clinical performance to elevate the practice of physical therapy including use of EBM and advocacy such as participation in the Pro Bono Clinic or Farm Worker’s Clinic.

The Leadership Award – Sarah Hanvy

Purpose: To recognize a graduating DPT student who demonstrates exemplary leadership qualities. This person performs established and innovative methods in the delivery of patient care, initiates involvement in community service, charities and events, and develops relationships in professional organizations locally and nationally.

The Dr. Angela Griffin Community Service Memorial Award – Peter Soares

Purpose: To recognize a DPT student who, in the spirit of Dr. Griffin, served with a generous heart to improve the well-being of members of the community. It is meant to honor the characteristics embodied by Dr. Griffin and found to be present in the recipient: regard and respect for those in need; compassion for others; empowerment through the sharing of knowledge; and initiative and effort on behalf of the underserved. This award recognizes a student who demonstrates outstanding community service beyond the academic requirements of the program, recognizes a community need and creates a solution, demonstrates a cooperative attitude toward community members and leaders, and performs activities in keeping with the core values of the profession. The recipient, in his or her service to others, exemplifies Christian character as a Campbell ambassador.

The Rural Health Award – Alma Crouch

Purpose: To recognize a student who has gone above and beyond the requirements of the curriculum to enact Campbell DPT’s mission to improve access to healthcare and quality of care for people in rural communities. This student is instrumental in coordinating and mobilizing fellow students as well as volunteers for the North Carolina Farmworkers Project Mobile Clinic. The mobile farmworker clinic is an interprofessional clinic that visits regional farms and provides medical and physical therapy services to migrant farm workers, few of whom have health insurance or access to regular medical care.

The Academic Excellence Award – Olivia Bloom

Purpose: To recognize a graduating DPT student for outstanding academic achievement in coursework completed during the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. This graduating student has also shown a commitment to lifelong learning and to fostering learning in others.