Published on August 22, 2019 by Sara Roman  
2019 PT Commissioning

Samford University School of Health Professions honored 30 Department of Physical Therapy students at its annual commissioning ceremony, transitioning students from classroom learning to clinical rotations. 

During the ceremony, family members, alumni, faculty and staff covered the students in prayer, read scripture and offered words of encouragement to empower students as they transition into their final year of school and their clinical role in patient care.

“Two years ago, these students made a commitment to their calling,” said Matthew Ford, professor and department of physical therapy chair. “This was not a commitment to, or an oath for serving the physical therapy profession. It was a commitment to serve those in need through physical therapy. A commitment founded on 1 Peter 4:10.”

Over the past two years, the students have lived up to this commitment. A third of them served internationally in Ecuador or Malawi, half served children with special needs, and all worked with kids in Birmingham City Schools.  Most recently, the cohort spent three days helping survivors of a traumatic brain injury improve their quality of life.

Ford estimates that the cohort participated in more than 6,000 hours of service during their first two years of schooling. 

“As this cohort prepares to leave Samford’s campus for their clinical internships, we feel confident that they are not only prepared academically but that their calling has been uniquely fostered. They are prepared to serve their community and exhibit God’s grace as they provide patient care,” said Ford.

During the ceremony, students also received encouragement from Eric Gonzalez Diaz, a 2019 graduate of the program. He shared that the coming months would prove to be challenging, but students should rely on their training and seek to share appreciation and kindness to those around them.

At the conclusion of the event, each student received a custom coin. The coin is a gift of distinction, reminding the students that a team of faculty, staff and students are praying for them and supporting them in their efforts to fulfill their calling. 

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.