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The Physician Assistant Studies program received recognition as part of Veterans Day celebrations at UNC-Chapel Hill on Friday, November 10, 2017.

At the Tar Heel Tribute, the day’s first event, Chancellor Carol Folt commended the inaugural class of PA students, who will graduate on December 16, 2017.

Tar Heel Tribute recognizes students, faculty, and staff who have served or are serving in the military. The celebration began in 2014 as a way to thank veterans for their contributions to both the nation and the University. The Office of the Dean of Students and the Division of Workforce Strategy, Equity, and Engagement hold the ceremony each year on the observance of Veterans Day. Later in the day, the Physician Assistant Studies program was recognized at UNC Medical Center’s annual Veterans Day event held in the lobby of UNC Children’s Hospital. The event honored UNC Health Care employees, students, and local residents who currently serve or have served in the armed forces.

PA program Director Paul Chelminski, MD, spoke at the event of the relevancy of the Veterans Day celebration in relation to next month’s graduation of the first class of UNC Physician Assistant Studies students. During the ceremony, Chelminski noted PA program veterans and current students, who attended the event.

Forty-five percent of students in the program’s inaugural class are veterans, compared to the national average of five percent. The program is housed in the UNC SOM’s Department of Allied Health Sciences.

“This is the first promise made and kept, but it did not occur in a vacuum. There is a longer tradition of promises made and kept that will allow us to appreciate the importance of the first class’s graduation.”

The celebration at the Medical Center also included presentations from Colleen McGuire, a student in the UNC School of Medicine and a 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Army; John Cocowitch, a volunteer at UNC Hospitals and U.S. Navy veteran (retired) Maj. Bob Medred, (retired), U.S. Air Force, and vice commander at the American Legion, Post 6; and by Congressman David Price, 4th district, North Carolina.