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Wheeling University to Honor DPT Students During Virtual Ceremony This Sunday

WHEELING, W.Va. (Dec. 9, 2020) – Wheeling University will celebrate the accomplishments of the 2020 Doctor of Physical Therapy class during a virtual pinning and hooding ceremony at 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13.  

“Our annual Doctor of Physical Therapy Pinning and Hooding Ceremony is such a moving event for the students, as well as faculty. We could not allow this wonderful group of students to leave the University without recognizing their achievements. Through the work of the DPT faculty, we have put together a virtual ceremony that honors our newest class of Doctor of Physical Therapy graduates. I look forward to joining the students and faculty that evening to congratulate them for all they have accomplished while at Wheeling University,” President Favede said.  

During Wheeling University’s virtual Doctor of Physical Therapy hooding and pinning ceremony, members of the DPT faculty gathered to send congratulations to the class of 2020 graduates. 

Due to social distancing restrictions caused by the pandemic, the University was forced to move its annual recognition for its physical therapy students to an online format. The ceremony will feature presentations and awarding of degrees by faculty, remarks from the class representative and congratulations from University President Ginny R. Favede.   

The University has sent the 53 graduates their academic regalia, pin and container of holy oil. Since the students are currently spread out across the country finishing their clinical education experiences, each student is recording themselves in their academic robe being hooded and pinned, and having their hands blessed. All of the videos received have been incorporated into Sunday’s presentation.  

“The University administration was determined COVID-19 restrictions would not stop us from honoring the 2020 cohort. The physical therapy faculty and administration worked together, taking into consideration all of the moving parts, to ensure the ceremony would be carried out as close to its original format as possible,” explained Dr. Krissy Grubler, clinical associate professor of Physical Therapy.   

Included in the ceremony will be the anointing of the students’ hands. Rev. Richard McCouch, S.J. will offer the prayer for the anointing, and each student will have the holy oil placed in the palms of their hands. Fr. McCouch sent oil to each student to use as part of the ceremony. Grubler added, the faculty believed it was important to include the anointing of the hands into the virtual event because “as physical therapists, the use of our hands is so important.” Additionally, Fr. McCouch will lead the students in the Prayer for Physical Therapists.  

Class representative Adele Metcalf will offer her classmates reflections about their time at Wheeling University. She explained the the class thought the hardest part of the journey would be getting into the DPT program, when in fact that the most difficult parts were meeting all the requirements, remote learning during a pandemic and passing exams.  

Metcalf said, “Learning how to work as a health care provider in the climate of a pandemic is something many health care providers never experience during their schooling. I believe that has put us at an advantage in the sense that we now know how to handle the worst of the worst-case scenarios … The light is finally here at the end of the tunnel. I just want to say how proud I am of everyone. We truly could have not made it here without the support of one another. Our program requires that you work as a team in order to get to this point, and I feel that our class came together and made very strong team.”   

Although the face-to-face class time abruptly halted in the spring due to COVID-19, the physical therapy faculty are thrilled to have the opportunity to celebrate and honor the Class of 2020 even though the ceremony will be delivered differently this year, Grubler added.