‘You are trailblazers’ PC graduates first ever class in physician assistant program

‘You are trailblazers’ PC graduates first ever class in physician assistant program

Presbyterian College’s first group of physician assistant students graduated in the program’s inaugural commencement exercise Friday, Sept. 24, in Belk Auditorium.

The 32 brand new PCPA alumni who completed their two-year program of study this fall were reminded that, as the first PA students, they established trends for all classes that follow.

“I’m so proud of you,” said founding program director Dr. Joe Weber. “You set the stage. You set the tone. You set the standard. And you set the tradition.”

Weber announced that the Class of 2021’s scores on standardized tests exceed national norms, particularly in the measure of advanced medical knowledge. Nationally, he said, 25.1 percent of PA students are considered having advanced medical knowledge. Forty-three percent of PC’s PA students, on the other hand, reached that highest benchmark.

College president Dr. Matthew vandenBerg told graduates they have earned an everlasting accolade – being the first to earn their PA degrees from PC.

“No other cohort has that distinction,” he said. “You are trailblazers.”

PC provost Dr. Kerry Pennell encouraged graduates to continue embracing the College’s motto – “While We Live, We Serve” – as they transition to careers as medical professionals.

“Caring after your patients is the highest form of service,” she said.

Several students earned the school’s inaugural awards for excellence. The 2021 Clinical Student of the Year Award was presented to Hunter Townson of Chattanooga, Tenn. Rebekah Gardner of Spartanburg earned the honor of being the class’s valedictorian. The inaugural Don Raber Humanitarian Award – named in honor of former College provost Dr. Don Raber – was presented to Beth Perry of Greenville.

Members of the PCPA Class of 2021:

  • Jack Arthur — Spartanburg – Pi Alpha Honor Society
  • Joy Boatright – Lilburn, Ga.
  • Ali Burley – Lexington
  • Victoria Cannon — Greenwood
  • Ethan Casey — Woodruff
  • Hunter Casey — Woodruff
  • Sally Davidson – Raleigh, N.C.
  • Grace Davis – Fayetteville, N.C.
  • Scott Ganucheau – Metairie, La.
  • Rebekah Gardner – Spartanburg — Valedictorian
  • Amaris Gilchrease – Atlanta, Ga.
  • Krystene Helgeson – Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.
  • Gilly Hogue – Socastee
  • Rebeca LeMaster — Lexington
  • Ingrid Llanes – Carenage, Port of Spain
  • Casey Long – Catawba
  • Monica Martz – Bellefontaine, Ohio
  • Matthew McCorkle – Charlotte, N.C.
  • Alyssa Patel – Cortland, N.Y. – Pi Alpha Honor Society
  • Beth Perry – Greenville – Pi Alpha Honor Society – Don Raber Humanitarian Award
  • Drake Presley – Bristol, Tenn.
  • Dawn Sodders – Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Justin Stentz – Mansfield, Ohio – Pi Alpha Honor Society
  • Heather Still – Greenville
  • Jennifer Stogsdill – Geraldine, Ala.
  • Marquis Thomason – Marion
  • Hunter Townson – Chattanooga, Tenn. – Pi Alpha Honor Society – Clinical Student of the Year
  • Haley Triche – Statesville, N.C.
  • Christin Van Hoy — Summerville
  • Clay Watson – Atlanta, Ga.
  • Amber Waynick – Travelers Rest
  • Cole Winburn – Conway

Preceptor Awards:

  • Emile Barrouk, MD
  • Sally Burgess, MD
  • Steven Carter, MD
  • Jessica Cauble, MD
  • Amy Forrest, MD
  • Gregory Givens, MD
  • Corey Hunt, MD
  • John Konsek, MD
  • Lincoln McGinnis, MD
  • Subba Rao, MD
  • Eman Sharaway, MD
  • Christopher Smith, MD
  • Jeffrey Thomas, MD
  • Nick Ulmer, MD