Samford University's School of Health Professions honored 92 first-year graduate students at the Commitment to Calling ceremony on April 19. The ceremony included students in the school’s three graduate programs: Doctor of Physical Therapy, Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies and Master of Science in Speech Language Pathology.
This annual ceremony encourages students to use their gifts and talents to serve others. They are guided by the school's theme verse, 1 Peter 4:10, which reads, "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms."
During the ceremony, students recite a pledge to reiterate their commitment to the profession and devote "a lifetime of compassionate service to humankind through the profession to which I am called." Students are then presented with a pin of distinction as their names are called to walk across the stage.
In addition to the presentation of pins, the event also featured personal stories from students further along in their studies, sharing what a commitment to calling means to them. These keynote speakers, selected by faculty, included: Johanna Oscarson, a second-year speech language pathology student, Courtney Webb, a second-year physician assistant studies student, and Cade Mullins, a second-year physical therapy student.
In a moving moment, Oscarson spoke about her mother's battle with brain cancer and how it inspired her to pursue a career in health care. "[My mom] spent a total of 38 days in the acute care ICU. There, an amazing team of occupational therapists, physical therapists, dietitians, radiologists, nurses, and, of course, speech-language pathologists, helped her to learn her new normal," Oscarson said. "I watched my mom, who was at the lowest point in her life, be taken care of, respected and loved by her amazing team. And that's when I knew I needed to be a part of it."
Oscarson shared about feeling a calling from God to enter the speech language pathology profession, and her desire to go beyond the minimum to be a compassionate caregiver to everyone.
The ceremony concluded with remarks from Alan Jung, dean of the School of Health Professions. "God has a purpose for your life, and he has been using every moment up to this point to shape you into the person he wants you to be," he said. "Today was the public declaration of starting the fulfillment of the calling that God has placed on your life."