School of Physical Therapy cloaks students during White Coat Ceremony

Nearly 40 Doctor of Physical Therapy students were presented white coats during the Marshall University School of Physical Therapy’s 4th annual White Coat Ceremony, Friday, April 29, at the St. Mary’s Center for Education.

The ceremony marks the students’ transition from didactic work to the clinic, according to Dr. Penny Kroll, chair of the School of Physical Therapy.

“They’ve had a little taste of the clinic all along, but this begins full time clinical-internships where they really are spending hours and hours of several weeks with the patients,” Dr. Kroll said.

Gabriel Alain, class president, said the occasion is a landmark point.

“It’s almost like a coming of age,” Alain said.

Kroll, who is retiring this summer, said she considers herself fortunate to have been able to help form the Physical Therapy program at Marshall.

“It’s been such a wonderful journey,” Kroll said. “It’s not often that you get a chance to have a vision of what you’d like to have a program look like and what you’d like the students to look like. Building a program from scratch gives you that opportunity.

“In this area, the clinicians have been begging for a program. This is an opportunity for folks who are local in the Appalachian region, as well as students from across the country, to gain work in the area after graduation.”

Alain said he couldn’t imagine studying in any other program.

“For me, physical therapy is really gratifying,” Alain said. “So much of today is all about instant gratitude. In physical therapy, people very much earn their outcome.”

For more information about the Doctor of Physical Therapy program, visit


Photo: Doctor of Physical Therapy students pose following their White Coat Ceremony on Friday, April 29.