July 15 was a very special day for 49 physician assistant students who walked across the stage of Hobson Performance Center in front of their loved ones to receive their long white coats.
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it,” quoted PA Program Chair, Betty Lynne W. Johnson from Psalm 118: 24 — a favorite of her father’s during his time as Campbell president — as she welcomed the crowd to the auspicious event. “The Long White Coat ceremony marks the transition from student to clinician. It’s a ceremony of commissioning and blessing as each of these graduates symbolically embraces the profession by being coated with a long white coat.”
Molly Calabria (’14 MPAP), president of the North Carolina Academy of Physician Assistants and PA with Imperial Center Family Medicine, addressed the audience sharing a message of hope for the future and issued a challenge to the graduates to always keep learning. “Your education is not complete. You will always be learning something new. Don’t be afraid to lean on each other. The relationships you formed here will serve as an informal support network as you embark on a challenging and quickly evolving field. You should be extremely proud of having completed a very rigorous academic program and proud of what you will do for your patients now that you have finished.”
After Mrs. Calabria’s inspiring address, each student was called on stage along with a special person in their life who helped the student into their coat. As part of the presentation of the coats, Rev. Louisa Ward, campus minister, and Mrs. Johnson, blessed the hands of the students. Next, Mrs. Ashley Nordan (’13 MPAP), assistant professor and director of Didactic Education for the PA program, led the cohort in taking the Physician Assistant Oath.
Finally, Wallace Student Society President Jada Dillner (’22 MPAP) spoke to her fellow graduates saying, “The past two years are concrete proof of our ability to achieve the impossible and a beautiful reminder that some of the most difficult challenges in life yield the most incredible gifts. We now have the gift to change human lives.”