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PCOM Georgia Holds PA and Biomedical Sciences Commencement


August 1, 2022

PCOM Georgia graduate students smile during commencementSurviving is important. Thriving is elegant. La Dawn Hackett, MD, MS/Biomed '08, who delivered the keynote address to 75 PCOM Georgia graduates last week, used these words from poet Maya Angelou when addressing the graduates. Following an honors brunch and an awards dinner, commencement took place on July 26, 2022, at the Gas South District in Duluth. The graduates included 45 biomedical sciences students and 30 physician assistant students.

Graduate Mansoor Saqib, chair of the Biomedical Sciences class of 2022, who is matriculating into the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine class of 2026, expressed his gratitude. He said, “I'm grateful for the next steps that this degree will allow me to pursue. Being accepted into the biomedical sciences program opened a lot of doors that I couldn't possibly have dreamed of. The valuable lessons we learned as a class we will be able to carry with us beyond our time at PCOM and ultimately into the communities around us.“

Mattea Krasicky, who chaired the Physician Assistant class of 2022, said, “I've been dreaming about being in PA school and pursuing this career for so long. To finally be at graduation feels incredibly surreal.”

PCOM Georgia's PA Studies Class of 2022 smiles in regalia on a flight of stepsGlancing around her while preparing to graduate, she said, “Being surrounded by my classmates, I've seen them go through the most difficult time of their lives and grow and become even better people than they were when I met them. I would trust all of them with my life, with my family's lives. I'm so incredibly proud of the providers that we've become and that we'll continue to become.“

Interestingly, both class chairs earned their undergraduate degrees from the University of Michigan and learned of their similar backgrounds when they made remarks at the awards dinner the evening before.

Keynote speaker Dr. Hackett called to mind her own journey when preparing her address. She is an alumna of the inaugural class of PCOM Georgia's Biomedical Sciences master’s degree program. She then earned an MD degree and completed a diagnostic radiology residency at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, before completing a one-year fellowship in abdominal radiology at Emory University.

Dr. Hackett said, “You have arrived at this pivotal moment in time because you have a mission, an assignment, to make a difference in the world.”

She offered the following advice.  

“Find joy in the struggles.”

“Heroes have lives too… Be sure to put yourself on your 'to do list' every day. Make sure you're rested and ready for the fight. Because the fight is not fair.”

“Always bet on yourself… Or better yet, trust your gut.”

Dr. Hackett encouraged the graduates to “thrive and take good care of yourself along the way.”

Prior to her remarks, she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree for her service to the PCOM Georgia community.

Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine President Jay S. Feldstein, DO '81, noted that the graduates experienced “an uncommon time of learning—amid extraordinary political unrest, amid sweeping movements against racism and for equity and justice; amid economic turmoil; as Russia waged war on Ukraine.”

He said, “Now, you must make yet another professional transition in a fractured world. A world desperate for healing. A world eager for you to temper chaos with care.”

Dr. Feldstein encouraged the graduates to “step out into the chaos and make use of your gifts for the betterment of the world.”

Lori Redmond, PhD, director of the Biomedical Sciences program asked the graduates to “reach back.” She said, “The fact that you are here today is evidence enough that each of you can reach back and help others along the path to higher education and a career for which the biomedical sciences prepares you.”

She painted a word picture for the graduates - “You, holding the hand of another as you continue to reach forward and achieve your goals.”

Laura Levy, DHSC, PA-C, chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies, asked the PA graduates to “love the life you have chosen. Commit to making change and in the interim, be kind, be humble and be respectful.”

The degrees were granted and the students hooded in an auditorium filled with family members and friends. Shanda Lucas-O'Dennis, MS/ODL '09, the vice president of the PCOM Alumni Association, invited the graduates to move their tassels from right to left, a gesture which was followed by a round of applause. The academic procession then recessed from the stage behind the commencement marshals, who carried the college’s ceremonial mace and baton, to the traditional graduation march, “Pomp and Circumstance.”

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  • About PCOM Georgia

    Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, a premier osteopathic medical school with a storied history. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science, and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the wider community. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment. For more information, visit pcom.edu/georgia or call 678-225-7500.

    For more information, contact:
    Barbara Myers
    Senior Public Relations Manager
    Email: BarbaraMy@pcom.edu
    Office: 678-225-7532 | Cell: 770-309-0613

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