West Coast University introduced its newest graduating class of physical therapy doctors to their friends and family this August at the Brookside Golf Club in Pasadena.
While the 39 DPT students from WCU's Center for Graduate Studies were ready to celebrate the end of their 36-month program, the hooding ceremony represented a huge step for their families as well.
"I'm the first one in my family to graduate not only from college but to get a doctorate so it's a pretty big deal," Kaley Marcinak said after the event. "I'm from Chicago, so to have everybody in my family fly in was just awesome. I felt really supported not only by my classmates but by my family."
WCU DPT graduate Edwal Pierre said he was proud to achieve his goals and did it for his mom.
"She's a single parent from Haiti," Pierre said. "I'm just helping to keep our name out there and doing it for her. It's amazing."
Cohort speaker William Robles said he never thought he would earn anything more than an associate degree. He urged anyone interested in continuing their education to follow their dreams because the results are worth the struggle, he said.
"If you're thinking about doing physical therapy, do it. If you're thinking about West Coast University, do it," Robles said. "It's been great. I got through it. I'd never thought I'd get to this point but I'm here now. I'm graduating with my doctorate degree so just get out there, get it done and commit."