Physician assistant graduates honored with white coat ceremony

By Megan Bradshaw on September 18, 2017

Physician assistants represent one of the fastest-growing professions in this country, and Towson University/CCBC-Essex offers one of the nation’s oldest programs.

The full graduating class of 2017
The full graduating class of 2017

On Monday, Aug. 7, over 400 guests — family, friends, faculty, administrators, clinical preceptors, and state physician assistant association representatives — gathered to celebrate the 41 members of the Towson University–CCBC Essex physician assistant program graduating class during their White Coat Ceremony at West Village Commons.

The College of Health Professions enrolls more bachelor’s and master’s health care and sport-related students than any other institution in Maryland and produces 21 percent of Maryland's health professionals.

During the ceremony, students received certificates of program completion and welcome materials into the Maryland Academy of Physician Assistants (MAPA). 

A number of students were inducted into Pi Alpha Honor Society — the national physician assistant honor society organized for the promotion and recognition of both PA students and graduates. Membership signifies the inductees’ significant academic achievement and honors them for their leadership, research, community/professional service and other related activities. Several students were also honored for their achievements. Not pictured is Kyle Schiller, who received the outstanding student award.

Chaya Spiegelman with Susan Woodward

 Outstanding Student and PA's PA awards

Chaya Spiegelman (left) with faculty member Susan Woodward

Scottie Berk with Susan Woodward

 Leadership Award

Scottie Berk (left) with faculty member Susan Woodward

Jackie Pagano with Susan Woodward

 Achievement Award

Jackie Pagano (left) with faculty member Susan Woodward


This event marked the culmination of a 26-month extremely rigorous program of study leading to the master’s degree. Students will now sit for their professional certification, after which they will apply for their health care license. Many students have been actively recruited and have already accepted positions in hospitals, urgent care and surgi-centers, and doctors' offices.  

“It was a magnificent event that the graduates enjoyed with family, friends, faculty and special guests. As the program director, I am proud of their successes and honored to welcome the graduates into the PA profession,” said Mark McKinnon, DHSc, PA-C. The donning of the long white coat symbolizes the culmination of the physician assistant students’ education and the emergence of a highly educated medical professional.”

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel's priorities for Towson University: TU Matters to Maryland.