The University’s first PhD awarded to Michael Baertschi, MSc ’97, FAAOIn addition to the long held traditions that mark a Salus graduation ceremony, this year’s commencement – the University’s 109th - included several events of note. The first was the conferring of the University’s first Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree which was awarded to Michael Baertschi, MSc ’97, FAAO, of Switzerland. The second was the inaugural graduating class of the international Doctor of Audiology (AuD) degree bridge program. The third event was the graduate commencement address by Master of Public Health (MPH) degree graduate Dr. David G. Durkee, who is assistant dean for clinical education and director of externships at Ferris State University Michigan College of Optometry. This year and moving forward, the graduate commencement speaker is chosen by committee from among all class members who submit an essay to ensure equity between all programs in the selection process. This year’s spring commencement was held at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, PA for 229 graduates from the University’s Optometry, Audiology, Education and Rehabilitation, Public Health and Occupational Therapy programs.

Harvey Rubin - Guest SpeakerThe guest speaker was Harvey Rubin, MD, PhD, whose “Energize the Chain” program ensures that viable vaccines can be delivered in developing nations by storing them in refrigeration powered by cell phone towers. A professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Rubin founded ISTAR (Institute of Strategic Threat Analysis and Response in 2002. He has extensive experience in the fields of clinical medicine and medical research, computational and systems biology, strategic threat research, medical school and university administration, as well as institute and multi-organizational directing and management. His short, succinct, humorous speech borrowed a quote from a long ago commencement speech made by Ralph Waldo Emerson to the graduates of Antioch College: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Graduate luncheonThere were several pre-commencement activities where graduates were recognized for their exceptional work. An Advanced Studies graduation recognition ceremony was held on May 20 with a reception at the Hafter Center’s Bennett Lounge. Advanced Studies graduates received their certificates and presented their case studies in S300 after the reception. The following day occupational therapy graduates presented their capstone posters in the Hafter Center and a luncheon for graduates and their guests was held at Presidential Caterers in East Norriton, PA. Commencement awards were presented at the luncheon. View list of award recipients.

Sarah Ganz, OD ’15 with Dr. Michael Rebar ’10Immediately following the commencement, Sarah Ganz, OD ’15, was commissioned as an officer in the US Air Force by Dr. Michael Rebar ’10, director of the on-campus TEI residency program, assistant professor and USAF Reserve captain. 


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