First Class of Physician Assistant Graduates “Coated” at First-Ever Reunion

20 years later, first PA Class returns for ceremony they missed.

RIT’s Physician Assistant degree program is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year, and as part of reunion activities during Brick City Homecoming and Family Weekend, they welcomed back their first class for a belated graduation ceremony.

New PAs celebrate graduation with a “Coating Ceremony” in which each receives their first professional lab coat with their name embroidered on it. For the first class of RIT PAs, the program was so new that an official coating wasn’t yet planned.

For their 20th reunion, seven practicing PAs received their coats from Heidi Miller, founding director for the program, in the new Clinical Health Sciences Center on the RIT campus. The ceremony was a chance to connect with faculty members, see the stunning new clinical facility that today’s PAs are using for practical learning, and finally receive their well-deserved personal coats. 

From l to r: PA assistant director Nancy Valentage, Thomas Coss, Mari Lutz, Melodie Kolmetz, Gregory Denysenko, Marlene Etlinger, Cynthia Ingalls, Lisa O’Connor, Lisa Murphy, PA director Heidi Miller.
Director of the PA program, Heidi Miller (right) presents a lab coat to Marlene Etlinger ’96, who helped coordinate the 20th Anniversary Coating Ceremony.