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The Department of Physical Therapy graduated its most recent class of 51 doctoral students during a ceremony at Clayton Hall.
The Department of Physical Therapy graduated its most recent class of 51 doctoral students during a ceremony at Clayton Hall.

Physical therapy graduation

Photos by Evan Krape, Kevin Quinlan

Ceremony recognizes 51 doctoral graduates from the top-ranked department

The University of Delaware’s Department of Physical Therapy recently honored its newest class of Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) graduates at winter commencement. The 51 students in the Class of 2018 are the 15th class to graduate from the program, which is ranked number 1 in the country by US News & World Report.

A hallmark of the Class of 2018 was a spirit of gratitude for others. In April 2018, the students held the first anatomical donor memorial ceremony to pay tribute to the lives of those who donated their bodies to the College of Health Sciences. The event gave students the opportunity to thank the donors’ family members and to express the impact the gift made on their education. Plans for a memorial labyrinth, a hardscape garden honoring all anatomical donors, were unveiled at the ceremony.

Class speaker Bryn Bonner noted that gratitude resonated deeply among members of the Class of 2018. The class organized and held the first anatomical donor memorial ceremony to recognize those who donated their bodies to the College of Health Sciences, a powerful educational gift.
Class speaker Bryn Bonner noted that gratitude resonated deeply among members of the Class of 2018. The class organized and held the first anatomical donor memorial ceremony to recognize those who donated their bodies to the College of Health Sciences, a powerful educational gift.

Class speaker Bryn Bonner said the ceremony was an example of how the class worked selflessly together throughout the program.

“I have never met a group of individuals more willing to trade their competitive natures for a genuine desire to collaborate,” Bonner said. “The number of times I watched my classmates in their nice clinic attire get on the floor to show another classmate an exercise, or volunteer to be strapped into the Biodex and only to have someone yell, ‘KICCKKK KICK KICK,’ is astounding.

“While we, as classmates, appreciate each other’s selflessness, your patients are the ones who have and will benefit the most from the unrelenting desire you have to give of yourselves to better the lives of those around you.”

UD’s newest alumni are heading to positions across the country, including Denver, Tampa  and New York City. At least eight graduates will remain in Delaware, including three who will stay connected to UD – two will pursue credentialed residencies in the orthopedic residency program, and one will work in the Delaware Spine Studies Lab, run by physical therapy department chair Gregory Hicks.

“You have just completed one of the most rigorous and demanding PT programs in the world...and that is not an understatement,” Hicks told the graduates. “We hope you leave UD with a great sense of pride and accomplishment because it is well deserved. You have many opportunities ahead of you...many opportunities to touch people’s lives in a way that only a physical therapist can. This is an honor and a privilege. Never forget that. You are well-equipped to enter this profession and become leaders in the field.”

The program takes two and a half years to complete and will begin accepting applications for its next cohort in July.

“You have just completed one of the most rigorous and demanding PT programs in the world...and that is not an understatement,” physical therapy department chair Gregory Hicks told the graduates.
“You have just completed one of the most rigorous and demanding PT programs in the world...and that is not an understatement,” physical therapy department chair Gregory Hicks told the graduates.

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