Commencement day for School of Health Professions

Students in the Orthotics and Prosthetics Program, Doctor of Nursing Practice Program and Physician Assistant Program in the School of Health Professions at Baylor College of Medicine celebrated their graduation in a ceremony held earlier this month.

Dr. Alicia Monroe, provost and senior vice president of academic and faculty affairs at Baylor, awarded the degrees and reminded graduates to thank their families, loved ones and friends, who were an important part of their journey.

The Orthotics and Prosthetics Program, the only one in the country to implement rigorous clinical residency training program as a part of the curriculum, graduated 37 students. The Doctor of Nursing Practice Program, which graduated 20 students, was ranked the No. 2 program by U.S. News & World Report in 2016; and 37 students graduated from the Physician Assistant Program, which ranked 13th among 218 programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in 2015.

The following student awards were presented at the ceremony:

  • Kaitlyn Kempf received the Lewis A. Leavitt Award as the physician assistant student with the highest academic record of achievement and the Henry D. McIntosh Award as the student who achieved the highest degree of academic excellence and service and who best exemplified the concept of the physician assistant.
  • Jessica Gaines received the Agatha Hodgins Memorial Award as the outstanding graduate who, based on academic achievement and clinical performance, demonstrated the dedication and enthusiasm that best symbolize the qualities desired in a nurse anesthetist.
  • Megan Glahn received the Academic Excellence Award for completing the Orthotics and Prosthetics Program with the highest scholastic ranking in the graduating class.
  • Austin Davids and Tyler Flavin received the Clinical Achievement Award for outstanding clinical achievement in the Orthotics and Prosthetics Program.

In addition to student awards, the inaugural Physician Assistant Visionary Leadership Award – Founders’ Tribute was announced. The inaugural award was established in honor of Professor Carl Fasser for his sustained demonstration of visionary leadership toward the physician assistant profession through education, research, clinical practice and service. The award will be given annually to a Baylor College of Medicine physician assistant or program alumnus who demonstrates exceptional leadership in these same domains. Fasser was recognized with the inaugural award. Fasser stepped down as director of the Physician Assistant Program at Baylor earlier this year.

Dr. Ronan Tynan gave this year’s commencement address. A member of the Irish tenors, Tynan is a four-time gold medal winning Paralympian. A native of Dublin, Ireland, he was born with a condition called phocomelia, which caused both of his lower legs to be underdeveloped. Following a car accident at age 20, Tynan had both of his legs amputated below the knee. He went on to win international athletic competitions in track and field and represented Ireland in the 1984 and 1988 Summer Paralympics, winning a four golds, two silvers and one bronze medal. A graduate of Trinity College, Tynan became a physician specializing in orthopedic sports injuries. He became interested in formal voice study while he was well into his residency as a physician, but quickly became well-recognized after winning both the John McCormack Cup for Tenor Voice and the BBC talent show, “Go for It,” less than one year after beginning the study of voice.

Tynan credits his success to the belief of others and a continued reinforcement of that belief. “To succeed in whatever we do in life is not a solo flight,” he said to the graduates.

Tynan also recognized the faculty members in the School of Health Professions at Baylor as “some of the finest people in medical science that I’ve ever met.” He closed his remarks with a song for the graduates and their friends and family.

Ronan Tynan

Ronan Tynan

-By Dipali Pathak