WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., June 16, 2017 — West Liberty University held its first ever Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies commencement on Friday, June 16. The ceremony was held at 6 p.m. in Kelly Theatre.
“We congratulate our students for their hard work and diligence in finishing their clinicals and completing their master’s degree,” said Program Director William Childers, EdD, MS, PA-C. The program offers a 24-month, year-round master’s degree format.
Graduate student speaker was Nathan Musser of Wheeling who highlighted key moments from his experience in the WLU PA program. After graduation, Musser will be working full time as a physician assistant at Wheeling Hospital. Musser, who graduated from Wheeling Park High School in 1998, earned his bachelor’s at Middle Tennessee State University in 2014.
Commencement speaker was Kenneth Dean Wright, a 37-year career physician assistant who was nationally honored recently as a Distinguished Fellow by the American Association of Physician Assistants.
Wright is a member of the general surgery team for the Veterans Hospital Administration at the Huntington VA Medical Center. His career started in Wheeling, as he was the first surgical PA employed at Wheeling Hospital. He serves on the West Virginia Board of Medicine as the PA member and is the chairman of the PA Committee.
Graduates received their degrees from WLU Provost Dr. Brian Crawford.
The PA Class of 2017 and their hometowns include: James Bartyzel, Avon Lake, Ohio; James Burress, Dallas, Texas; Courtney Cira, Morgantown, W.Va.; Brianne Clark, Barnesville, Ohio; Hannah Crewdson, Cross Lanes, W.Va.; Elizabeth Denniston, Sewickley, Pa.; Jonathan Finkel, Sewickley, Pa.; Alexandra Higginbotham, New Martinsville, W.Va.; Ross Keffer, Grove City, Pa.; Leanne Mezzella, Wellsburg, W.Va.; Katherine Moio, Weirton, W.Va.; Nathan Musser, Wheeling, W.Va.; Annisce Remanna, Alipqippa, Pa.; Diana Remenar, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Nicole Rucinsky, Houston, Texas; Andy Stegman, Wheelersburg, Ohio; Kayla Strimel, Morgantown, W.Va. and Amara Waturuocha, Houston, Texas.
Graduates also received Pi Alpha Honors during the ceremony, which is the national honor society for physician assistants and indicates academic achievement, community service and leadership. Hannah Crewdson and Elizabeth Denniston received honors from Professors Jennifer Childers and Sarah Brammer.
WLU’s physician assistant program welcomed its first class in the summer of 2012 and the 2017 graduates are its fourth class of graduating physician assistant professionals.
A commencement reception followed the ceremony in the Nutting Gallery.
For complete information on the physician assistant program at WLU, please visit westliberty.edu/physician-assistant or call 304-336-5098.