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News: Roane State's PTA program celebrates 30th anniversary

News: Roane State's PTA program celebrates 30th anniversary

Roane State’s Physical Therapist Assistant Program, located at the college’s Oak Ridge campus, celebrated its 30th anniversary. From left are current program director Beth Vowell, Lynda Jack (the program’s first director), Lorna Swanson (the program’s first clinical coordinator), and current clinical coordinator Emily DeLozier.

Nov. 22, 2017 

By Bob Fowler
Roane State staff writer

An acclaimed Roane State program celebrated its 30th anniversary with an open house and reunion Nov. 14, and more than 60 alumni, current students and the program’s founders gathered to celebrate.

The college’s Physical Therapist Assistant Program has grown over the years in reputation and now is highly regarded for its licensure exam pass rate, ranking for student completion, and graduate employment rate.

“The strong reputation of the Roane State PTA program can be attributed in large part to the dedication of the faculty from the very beginning, the facilities and support received from the college, and the high level of commitment of the students,” said Assistant Professor Emily A. DeLozier, clinical coordinator of the PTA program.

Among those attending the reunion were Lynda Jack, the first program director, and Lorna Swanson, the original clinical coordinator.

“It was great to see everyone from the past and also to meet current students and see that the program is thriving,” Jack said.

“It is evident that the (Roane State) administration and program faculty have worked hard over the years to make this an excellent place for training the next generation of PTAs,” Swanson said.

“My greatest pleasure of the evening was to see Lynda Jack as well as my former students who are still enthusiastically working as PTAs and making a difference in the lives of their patients after over 20 years,” Swanson said.


Current Roane State PTA students provided tours and visited with former faculty and alumni during the program's 30th anniversary celebration.

First classes of the program, which was launched in 1986, were held at Pellissippi State, moved to a Roane State campus on Oak Ridge Turnpike and then to an Emory Valley Road location until the Coffey-McNally Building on Briarcliff Avenue was dedicated in August 1999.

The PTA program then expanded its lab and classroom size when the Goff Building on the Briarcliff Avenue campus opened in 2014.

When Jack moved to Florida to start a physical therapy program in 1995, she was succeeded by Kurt Backstrom, while Swanson’s position was filled by Suzi Backstrom in 1992.

The Backstroms continued the program until 2012, when DeLozier became the clinical coordinator. Beth Vowell took over Kurt Backstrom’s position in 2013.

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