A commencement ceremony held Friday recognized the accomplishments of the graduates of the chiropractic, naturopathic, acupuncture and biomedical science programs.
Terry Elder, DC, who holds the distinction of being one of National University of Health Sciences’ longest serving basic and clinical sciences instructors, served as commencement speaker. After 31 years with the university, he retires from NUHS this month.
During his speech, Dr. Elder collectively described the instructors he’s worked with over the years as icons, or representative symbols worthy of veneration.
“These instructors would do anything for the university or the individual students they were responsible for teaching. Several icons I would call personal friends and would not have survived 31 years without their friendship. These were also the ones you probably went to for help when you needed clarification, clinical advice or maybe just some emotional support,” he said.
He recalled that while today is the end of graduates’ tenth trimester, it’s the end of his 110th trimester.
“I strive to learn more every trimester and every year. As future doctors and health care providers, you should also never stop learning or listening to your patients.”
He also encouraged students to stand out.
“Graduates, don’t ever be happy with average but stand out and make some noise in your profession and in your community,” he said.
The valedictorians of each class also gave speeches during the ceremony,
Valedictorian of the Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences program, Josephine Paula Jones, reflected on the hard work, resilience, determination and passion that got graduates to their commencement ceremony.
“Each of us has had our own special memories here at NUHS, our second home,” she said. “I will never forget the warm and encouraging words faculty as well as classmates conveyed to me. We need genuine, positive doctors and biomedical field specialists like you to continue to uplift and inspire people and prospective students.”
In her address, Valedictorian of the Master of Science in Acupuncture program, Alphecca May T. Octava, expressed gratitude to the most important people in her life, including her family, classmates, faculty and the university as a whole.
“Gratitude is so much more than saying thank you, gratitude changes your perspective of your world,” she said.
In his closing remarks, NUHS President Joseph Stiefel, MS, EdD, DC, reflected back on the speeches given by valedictorians and Dr. Elder regarding transformation and being iconic.
“You will undoubtedly forget what I say here today but you will undoubtedly also see a fantastic moving iconic picture in your future,” he said.
Doctor of Chiropractic
Jordan Nycolette Darrough-Spranger
Darrian Raymond’ Davis
Taylor B. Hershey
Sari Rachel Katz
Amelia Ann Kurkowski
Sophia Marie Langheier
Ellie A. MacGregor
Theresa Kieu Pham
Kennedi Chaise Pierce
Fawzi Mohamed Turkmani
Ryan Robert VanBommel
Master of Science in Acupuncture
Whitney Leigh Grier
Alphecca May T. Octava
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine
Thomas Joseph Imbrogno Jr.
Rishard Angelos Lekkas
Amelia Ann Kurkowski (Spring ‘21)
Elizabeth Clarice Malouf
Shay-Ann Melaine Scott-Johnson
Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Science
Ron Ford Jr.
Josephine Paula Jones
Kathryn Nichole Pagan Roman