2021 Graduate Commencement


On Friday, August 20, thirty-three members of the Class of 2021 Physician Assistant (PA) Studies Program and one member of the Teacher Leadership Program received their Master of Science and Master of Education degrees, respectively, during AB’s 2021 Graduate Commencement Ceremony held at the Robinson Grand in Clarksburg, W.Va. 


The Physician Assistant Studies Class of 2021 include Jessica L. Armes of Bomont, W.Va.; Allan Joshua Avellanet of Dallas, Texas; Brooke E. Birckbichler of Butler, Pa.; Hilary Rae Boucher of Presque Isle, Maine; Jordan Scott Campbell of Grafton, W.Va.; Danielle Marissa Chatelain of San Antonio, Texas; Aidree Cook of Perry, Ga.; Cassidy Marie Costello of Scenery Hill, Pa.; Madeline Eggert of Wrightstown, Wis.; Laken Lee Fleming of Bridgeport, W.Va.; Hannah Elise Hugo of Surprise, Ariz.; Viridiana Chelsea Jefferson of Juarez, Chihuahua; Kayla N. Lester of Marlington, W.Va.; Jake A Lloyd of Orem, Utah; Morgan Elizabeth Lutz of Uniontown, Pa.; Blaire Malinowski of Bridgeton, N.J.; Lauren Elizabeth Martin of Woodstock, Va.; Samantha R. May of Pasadena, Md.; Paolo Mesde of Copertino, Calif.; Kelsey Reba Marie Morkem of Suwanee, Ga.; Aaron Rhys Norris of Bethesda, Md.; Reesha Patel of Randolph, N.J.; Abigail Mary Price of Memphis, Tenn.; Kirby Alan Robbins of Randleman, N.C.; Jeffrey Smythe of Fort Worth, Texas; Patrick J. Stickle of Canfield, Ohio; Elle Elizabeth Tattoni of Elburn, Ill.; Laura Marie Tranchini of Pittsburgh, Pa.; Matthew Taylor Vero of Bruceton Mills, W.Va.; Jason Kevin West of Parkersburg, W.Va.; Morgan Taylor Winterbottom of Lothian, Md.; Tyler Wirfel of Ebensburg, Pa.; and Brett Workman of Lemont Furnace, Pa.


These professionals join a long line of physician assistants graduating from the nation’s first physician assistant program, founded in 1968 by AB’s own Dr. Hu C. Myers.


Jordan Elizabeth Turner of Charleston, W.Va., was the sole graduate of the 2021 Teacher Leadership Program. AB’s Teacher Leader program is designed to assist teachers in becoming leaders in their schools. The program provides a strong understanding of research-based practices and guides authentic, hands-on research within their classroom and school.



This year’s commencement address was given by Glen E. Combs, a 1973 alumnus of AB University. Having had an illustrious career as an educator, national leader, practicing clinician in obstetrics/gynecology, emergency medicine, family medicine, and psychiatry, Combs was ideally suited to offer his wisdom to the graduates. His address to the class, “Hu C. Myers – A Man of Vision,” left students with a message emphasizing perseverance and the need to strive for success continually. 


Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Andrea Bucklew presented the class with degrees. In addition, four students were inducted into Pi Alpha, the national Physician Assistant honor society that honors significant academic achievement, leadership, research, community, and professional service. Those awarded were: Jessica Armes, Madeline Eggert, Paolo Mesde, and Kirby Robbins.


Graduate students of the Physician Assistant Studies Program were presented hoods by adjunct senior lecturer of Education, F. Joseph Super.


AB University President Dr. Tim Barry conferred the degrees and left the graduates with these parting remarks, “be kind. Be gentle. Be hope in a world that desperately needs you.”


AB stands out as one of the most innovative health education providers in Appalachia, pioneering the nation’s first baccalaureate Physician Assistant program of its kind in 1968, the first post-baccalaureate Physician Assistant Master’s degree program in 1990, and West Virginia’s first four-year Nursing program in 1945. For more information, visit www.ab.edu




History of Physician Assistant Studies at AB

In 1968, Dr. Hu C. Myers (1902-1987) established the nation’s first four-year physician assistant program, an innovation that has had an enormous influence on the development of the physician assistant profession nationwide. The first class graduated in 1972. In 1991, the University’s first physician assistant post-graduate degree was offered, with the bachelor’s degree program becoming a master’s degree program in 2002. The School of Physician Assistant Studies is a graduate program conferring the Master of Science degree in physician assistant studies. Each year, 36 students are accepted into the program and undergo a rigorous graduate curriculum of 27 months comprised of didactic and clinical education designed to prepare the student to enter the medical profession.


The Alderson Broaddus University School of Physician Assistant Studies’ mission is to academically and clinically prepare physician assistants who deliver high-quality, patient-centered, primary and specialty care with physician supervision to diverse populations.



About the Teacher Leadership Program at AB

The Teacher Leadership Program is designed to meet the needs of the practicing teacher seeking a graduate degree. It creates better teachers who can affect change and become leaders within their schools. AB’s Teacher Leader program prepares teacher leaders to assume roles that include, but are not limited to: mentor teacher, lead teacher, department chair, curriculum design specialist, academic coach, technology integration specialist, professional development specialist, and school improvement specialist.