CU Physical Therapy Celebrates the Class of 2023
Graduation festivities were held December 14-16, 2023Zachary Noriega | Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation/CU School of Medicine Dec 18, 2023
The University of Colorado Physical Therapy Program celebrated the graduation of the Doctor of Physical Therapy Class of 2023. Festivities were held over a three-day period, including the CU Physical Therapy Alumni Association Graduation Party on Thursday, December 14, 2023, the Convocation Ceremony on Friday, December 15, 2023, and Commencement on Saturday, December 16, 2023. 71 graduating students were recognized for this monumental milestone in their education.
The weekend was kicked off with the CU Physical Therapy Alumni Association Graduation Party, which was hosted at Comrade Brewing Company in Denver the evening of Thursday, December 14th. There were over 130 attendees including graduates and their families, members of the PT Alumni Association Board of Directors, as well as members of the CU PT faculty.
The afternoon of Friday, December 15th, the annual Convocation Ceremony was held in Education 2 South on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, and was marshalled by Dana Judd, PT, DPT, PhD. Graduates and their guests heard introductory remarks from CU PT Program Director and Associate Dean for Physical Therapy Education Michael Harris-Love, PT, MPT, DSc, FGSA, FAPTA; Roderick Nairn, PhD, Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs; John J. Reilly, Jr., MD, Dean for the University of Colorado School of Medicine; and Venu Akuthota, MD, Professor and Chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Class President Aryssara Bryndzia made comments to her class, and retired faculty member Paul Mintken, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT was selected to deliver a passionate and emotional graduation address to the class.
Following Dr. Mintken's speech was the presentation of awards. Margie O'Rourke, Alumni Relations Program Manager, and David Bruton Jr., PT, DPT, Co-President of the CU PT Alumni Association, presented the Alumni Achievement Award to Alyssa Arms, PT, DPT, OCS, and the Rising Star to Maddie Eastman, PT, DPT, SCS, LAT.
Dr. Roderick Nairn was presented with the Champion of Physical Therapy Award by Dr. Dana Judd. Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Education Jenny Rodriguez, PT, DPT, MHS, who is retiring in January after serving the longest tenure as Director of Clinical Education in the country, received the Cerasoli Award for Outstanding Contributions to Physical Therapy Education, presented by Eric Sawyer, PT, DPT, OCS, STC, CFEI, and the CU PT Excellence in Teaching Award, presented by Catherine Bilyeu, PT, DPT, OCS.
In addition, Dr. Bilyeu recognized our graduating Faculty Resident Carissa Wengrovius, PT, DPT, PhD, and presented to the recipient of the Mary Gosnell Award, Zachary Sapinsley. Dr. Sawyer presented the Outstanding Clinical Instructor Award to Matthew Pomeroy, PT, DPT, OCS, and Dr. Rodriguez presented the Outstanding Clinical Partner Award to UCHealth Anschutz Outpatient Pavilion.
Various faculty members then presented the student awards. The below students were recognized:
- Outstanding Capstone Award: Kristin Kirby and Zachary Sapinsley
- National Physical Therapy Honor Society: Heidi Hanson, Kara Lunski, Alison Rickert, and Emily Wardyn
- Richard D. Krugman Award: Tori Serna
- Physical Therapy Program Altruism in Action Award: Edric Zhan
- Herbert J. Levy Humanitarian Award: Kendra Freiden
- Outstanding Doctor of Physical Therapy Award: Laura Durkee
Following the presentation of student awards, Drs. Judd and Harris-Love delivered the closing remarks, and there was a reception held in the lobby outside the auditorium.
On Saturday, December 16, the official CU Anschutz Commencement Ceremony was held at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. CU Physical Therapy joined the CU College of Nursing, CU Anschutz Graduate School, Colorado School of Public Health, and Anesthesiology Assistant Program in conferring degrees to our graduates. We are so proud of our 2023 graduates and can't wait to hear about all they will accomplish as doctors of physical therapy as they join our network of over 2,000 CU PT Alumni!