DPT 2022 Graduation

On the weekend of August 5-6, 2022 our Doctor of Physical Therapy Class of 2022 celebrated their accomplishments over the past three years during our graduation celebration and USF Commencement. The class of 2022 welcomed 47 new alumni to our school and DPT program, but they also represent a diverse group of future physical therapists. This cohort faced many challenges having to shift to virtual/hybrid learning during the pandemic, complete all their clinical experiences during the pandemic, and then return to campus for their last semester. Through these challenges the students excelled and made the best of their experience, learning on their fellow classmates and faculty/staff to finish the program.

Graduation Celebration

The graduation celebration is an annual school event in which faculty and staff are able to personally celebrate the class along with a small group of family and friends. All of our graduates received an MCOM/SPTRS medallion to wear at commencement, and if students chose we also “re-coated” them in their white coats. During the celebration on August 5th we also award our graduation awards and announce ACAPT national honor society inductees All awards are voted on by faculty and staff, and final approvals/decisions are made by the SPT&RS Scholarship and Awards Committee.

Laura Lee “Dolly” Swisher Ethical and Professional Leadership Award

Gabriela Gonzalez Markowitz pictured above is the 2022 recipient of the Laura Lee “Dolly” Swisher Ethical and Professional Leadership Award. This award is named after Dr. Dolly Swisher, a founding faculty member, our third School Director, and now Professor Emerita. This award recognizes a graduate who illustrates strong professional and ethical behavior, displays effective confidence, engenders trust with patients and colleagues, high academic achievement, actively participated throughout the program, and demonstrates clinical acumen.

Catherine Page Clinical Excellence Award

Keschel Hernandez pictured above is the 2022 recipient of the Catherine Page Clinical Excellence Award. This award is named after Catherine Page who was the first Director of Clinical Education. This award recognizes a graduate who has demonstrated exceptional clinical skills and is awarded based on feedback from clinical instructors and the Director of Clinical Education.

Outstanding Systematic Capstone Research Project

Our last award given out was the SPT&RS Capstone Research Award, which recognizes an outstanding capstone research project. The recipients of this award are nominated by the Capstone Faculty and final decision made by our Assistant School Director of Research. The 2022 recipients of this award were Medina Alisic, Anthony Caraballo, Alexandra Pontaoe, and Jessica Younkin, along with their faculty mentor Dr. Bini Thomas. Their capstone project was titled “The Role of Physical Therapists in the Care of COVID-19 Patients: A Scoping Review.”

American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAPT) National Student Honor

This society was created in 2018 to recognize Doctor of Physical Therapy students who:

Demonstrate excellence, integrity, and professionalism in areas of:

academic achievement (top 25%)


service or research, and

demonstrate strong moral character, ethics and the core values of the PT profession

Our 2022 inductees from left to right in the picture above are Xavier Prado, Joseph Schneider, Keschel Hernandez, and Giovanna Hoyos.

To see previous award recipients visit: https://health.usf.edu/medicine/dpt/history-awards