2019 Health Professions commencement

The School of Health Professions at Baylor College of Medicine held a commencement ceremony for students in three of its programs this December: the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program, the Orthotics and Prosthetics program and the Physician Assistant Program.

Dr. Alicia Monroe, provost and senior vice president of academic and faculty affairs, conferred the degrees and encouraged the students to thank their friends and family who supported them through their training. She also reminded the students that they will always be members of the Baylor family and to carry Baylor’s values with them as they take the next steps in their journey.

The commencement address was given by a familiar face to most of the students and faculty – Carl Fasser, who served as the founding director of the Physician Assistant program until July 2018. Fasser was instrumental in bringing a community-oriented primary care focus to the Program’s curriculum.

He served as a medical corpsman in the Air Force and worked as a dialysis technician before enrolling in the Physician Assistant Program at Duke University Medical Center. Fasser served as founding member of both the American Academy of Physician Assistants as well as the Texas Academy of Physician Assistants and twice as the president of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

He has been recognized for his contributions to the field through many awards, including the American Academy of Physician Assistants Founder’s Award, Physician Assistant Education Association Master Faculty Award, Baylor’s Fulbright & Jaworski Faculty Excellence Award for Educational Leadership, Barbara and Corbin J. Robertson Presidential Award for Excellence in Education, the Alumni Association Distinguished Faculty Award, and the J David Holcomb Award for Sustained Leadership in Allied Health Education. He also was inducted into the Duke PA Program Hall of Fame as a distinguished alumnus.

The graduating class included 16 students from the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program, 24 students in the Orthotics and Prosthetics Program and 39 students in the Physician Assistant Program. Five student awards also were announced at the ceremony:

  • Alyssa Reid received the Lewis A. Leavitt Award as the physician assistant graduate with the highest academic record of achievement.
  • Casey Keegan received the Henry D. McIntosh Award as the graduate who achieved the highest degree of academic excellence and service and who best exemplified the concept of the physician assistant.
  • Angela Lauritano 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.
  • Erica Ling received the Orthotics and Prosthetics Academic Excellence Award. This award is presented to the O&P student with the highest scholastic ranking in the graduating class.
  • Karolina Clark received the Orthotics and Prosthetics Lucille M. Becker Clinical Achievement Award. This award is presented to the O&P student for outstanding performance in the clinical year of the program.

-By Dipali Pathak