WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., June 7, 2021 — West Liberty University’s College of Sciences will hold a spring commencement ceremony for its physician assistant master degree students at 6 p.m., Friday, June 11 in Kelly Theater. It will be an in-person ceremony that follows all CDC guidelines.
“We’re pleased to be able to hold an in-person ceremony this spring. Each graduate is permitted two guests to allow us to social distance,” explained Program Director William Childers, EdD, MS, PA-C.
“I am proud of our graduates in a special way due to the unique challenges that they met as they worked through their clinical rotations during this unprecedented time of pandemic. I congratulate all of our graduates and wish them well in their futures.”
The Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies ceremony also will be streamed live on WLU’s streaming platform Topper Station at 6 p.m., June 11 for those who prefer to attend virtually.
President W. Franklin Evans will be the commencement speaker for the ceremony.
Evans was selected as West Liberty University’s 37th President in November 2020 and assumed office on January 1, 2021. With 25 years of experience in higher education (9 years in K-12), he is well-prepared to lead.
Evans is the first Black president in the history of the university. Prior to joining WLU, he was the president of Voorhees College (South Carolina). He formerly served as interim president of South Carolina State University, where he also served as the provost and chief academic officer.
He holds a doctoral degree in higher education administration from Georgia State University and degrees in journalism, middle childhood education, curriculum and instruction, as well as administration and supervision from Georgia State University. His bachelor’s degree is in the sciences (entomology) from the University of Georgia.
He hails from a long line of educators and is a well-known speaker who will share his thoughts and greetings with the graduates.
Acting Provost Jeremy Larance will confer the degrees and greetings will be offered by both the Chairman of the Board of Governors Rich Lucas and Dean of the College of Sciences Karen Kettler.
The PA Class of 2021 and their hometowns include: Lauren Blunt, Oak Creek, Wis.; Sarah Bodnar, South Charleston, W.Va.; Miranda Cook, Wheeling, W.Va; Stephanie Courts, Wheeling, W.Va.; Steven Faddis, Harrison City, Pa..; Cary Flanders, Allegany, N.Y.; Olivia Franke, Longmont, Col.; Olivia Gray, Washington, Pa.; Veronica Miller, Golden, Col.; Zachary Oltman, Houston, Texas; Joel Pool, Delbarton, W.Va.; Amy Repko, Logan, Utah; Dylan Ringer, Mt. Pleasant, Pa.; Noah Teaff, Follansbee, W.Va.; Reagan Tom, Chandlersville, Ohio; Ashley Vander Sys, Yakima, Wash.; Brittany Waltz, Martinsburg, W.Va.
Graduates also receive Pi Alpha Honors during the ceremony (national honor society for physician assistants). This indicates academic achievement, community service and leadership and this surprise announcement and presentation of award will be made by Dr. Childers.
The virtual ceremony also will air live on WLU-TV14 (Comcast Channel 14) and will be replayed throughout the weekend in Ohio, Brooke, Marshall and Hancock counties.
West Liberty University’s Master’s in Physician Assistant Studies degree program is a 24-month, year-round course of studies that begins each year in July. Fully accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, it includes one year of didactic, in-classroom work, and a second year of clinical rotations under the supervision of licensed clinical preceptors.
Featuring a small class size of 18 students, WLU is one of the most affordable programs in the country.
Other members of the PA program faculty include: Medical Director Howard L. Shackelford, MD, FACS, FACC; Assistant Professor Jennifer L. Childers, MSPAS, PA-C; Assistant Professor Tonda Stauffer, MPAS, PA-C; Academic Coordinator Sarah G. Brammer, MSPAS, PA-C; Assistant Professor Robert J. Wetzel, MD, FACOG. Staff includes Administrative Secretary Tara K. Hardman, AA, AS and Records Assistant Connie C. McVicar, BS.