- Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
By Ryan Clark
CHS Communications Director
Judy Wright took in the scene: Her former classmates, some she hadn't seen in more than 50 years, were laughing and enjoying each others' company. It was almost too much to put into words.
"It's just so very nice," said Wright, who had traveled with her husband from their home in Louisville. "We tried to do this so many times. To see it finally happen — it's just so nice to see."
On Aug. 8, Wright joined a special group of Physical Therapy graduates at The Campbell House for their 50-year reunion — one that was actually 52 years in the making. Three times the students tried to organize the event, and each time, the COVID pandemic provided a roadblock. But even a pandemic couldn't keep these Wildcats from sharing their UKPT memories.
Seven of the original 12 students were able to get together (two of them on Zoom) to celebrate their class.
Donna Hazle — who currently lives just outside Tulsa — worked with Wright to track down a lot of the original members of the class. And from the other side of the room, she also wore a smile that seemed as big as the Oklahoma sky.
"We actually hadn't gathered like this since our 20th anniversary," Hazle said. "Some of these people haven't seen each other since we left UK. These people came from all over the country to be here, and to be able to get us in the same room again is just wonderful."
Professors also came out for the celebration, as well as College of Health Sciences Dean Scott Lephart and new Physical Therapy Department Chair Patrick Pabian, PT, DPT, PhD, who was actually ending his first day on the job.
"It's been a lot of information to take in," Pabian said, "but in a good way."
"We are so fortunate to have had so many of our 1969 PT graduates on campus for their 50th reunion," Lephart said. "We are happy to see them, and more importantly, to hear their wonderful stories — how their work impacted their communities and helped so many people. It just perfectly illustrates the familial aspect of the PT community."
Members of the class were also scheduled to tour the current facilities and meet with UK officials.
"We were really close as a class," said Donna Whitson Borden, who traveled from Arizona for the event. "And then you start talking to people you haven't seen in so long, but when you see them again, it's like no time has passed. You pick up right where you left off. That's how close we were, and in some ways, still are. It's amazing to see that."
Donna Whitson Borden
And on Zoom: