Hanna Stanley - Class of 2020 Commencement Address August 2020

Hello family and friends, faculty and graduates. Thank you for choosing to being a part of our special day.

Though the circumstances under which we are receiving our highest honors today are quite unconventional, we can agree that some aspects of this day are a blessing. Some family members that were unable to travel can be a part of our ceremony, thus I have no doubt that people all across the states are able to celebrate with us today.

Thank you to our faculty for making this happen in a way that could still be special to us.

The graduates you see on screen have worked for years to accomplish the goal that we have officially reached today. I’m sure the administration can share the stats GPAs, admission criteria, and previous experience that we had before coming to PA school, which are all nothing short of impressive. They will cover the formalities and congratulations on how hard we have worked to complete the program. However, I want to share a few more personal things.

When I look back on PA school, what I’ll remember most is the hardships we faced together. Cramming silently before exams. Pretending to be each other’s patients for practicals. Understanding the pressure we were under to succeed. No one except us 30 graduates can understand the experiences we’ve had over the last 27 months, and that is a special bond we will forever hold.

I’ll think of struggling through anatomy and the late night and weekend hours we spent in the lab listening to music over the speakers and attempting to finish our dissections. I’ll think of the times of stress relief, like when we went to the lake on the fourth of July during first semester. This was probably the only day we truly relaxed from May to August that year.

I’ll remember the bonfire we had to burn our lab coats and signify we had survived anatomy. I’ll remember all the inside jokes we had about the funny things our professors would say. Sorry guys.

I’ll remember how this strong and amazing group of professionals supported each other. I’ll remember stopping in the hallway to vent or just say “How are you?” and truly meaning it because we were all concerned for each other’s health and wellbeing.

I’ll remember coming together for callback days between rotations. We would all catch up and give each other the scoop on our upcoming experiences. I’ll remember getting together every chance we could to de-stress and spend time together and have a little fun. “Self-care,” right faculty?

I’ll remember the way we supported and loved on each other most. This shows me that we have a capable group of sympathetic, caring, and professional physician assistants that will soon be going out into the world and caring for patients.

Best of luck, class of 2020!


Hanna Stanley, Class President, Class of 2020