Seeger Chapel steeple against an orange sunset

Milligan graduates first PA and MAH students

MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. (May 15, 2020) — Two new graduate programs at Milligan College celebrated their first graduates this month. The Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (PA) program graduated 24 students and the Master of Arts in Humanities (MAH) graduated four. The graduates will be recognized at Milligan’s on-campus commencement ceremony scheduled for Aug. 15.

Physician Assistant Program

Milligan’s PA program launched in 2018 with strong support from Mountain States Health Alliance, now Ballad Health, and it was developed to meet a critical healthcare need both regionally and nationally. The program trains healthcare professionals to diagnose and treat patients, in addition to prescribing medicine. PA students receive a foundation in primary care, so they may work with physicians and other members of the healthcare team in a variety of medical specialties.

“What makes Milligan’s program unique is that we train students not only to be excellent medical providers, but also to be servant-leaders in their community,” said President Dr. Bill Greer.  “We are extremely proud of these graduates and how they will go forward and represent our program in the healthcare sector.”

For graduate Ryan Bader, entering Milligan’s PA program served as a career change. After 16 years of experience in ministry, Bader became interested in pursuing healthcare. Upon learning that Milligan was creating a PA program, Bader decided it was time to return to school.

“As a minister, I spent many hours in hospitals and that piqued my interest in healthcare,” he said. “Around this time, Milligan announced its PA program, and I realized this was the perfect fit for me at the right time in my life. During my time here, I have appreciated how Milligan’s PA program emphasizes servant-leadership in our profession and our communities.”

Bader has accepted a position with Blue Ridge Family Physicians, and he was one of three Milligan students selected to be inducted into Pi Alpha, the national honor society for physician assistants. Pi Alpha honors those with significant academic achievement while also exhibiting leadership and serving others. The other inductees from this year’s class include Amanda Carey and Shivali Kanal.

Andrew Hull, director of Milligan’s PA program, imparted a message of care to his students.

“Keep the patient at the center of the care you provide,” he said. “Do your best to always provide what your patient needs – whether that is a certain procedure or treatment, or maybe just a few extra minutes to have someone listen to them.  You have the knowledge and skills to make a huge impact on this world, and do not forget that the greatest impact you will have will be one patient at a time.”

Master of Arts in Humanities:

Milligan’s MAH program encourages interdisciplinary study and draws on the strengths of Milligan’s celebrated undergraduate Humanities Program. This degree offers a flexible but rigorous exploration of the humanities that can prepare students for a variety of careers or further graduate study.

“This first graduating class has anchored the program with dedicated scholarship and genuine love of learning,” said Dr. Heather Hoover, director of the MAH program. “All of the MAH faculty are deeply grateful to these students for investing in our fledgling program. We have learned much from them, and we know they will continue to cultivate beauty and excellence throughout their lives.”

Among these first four graduates, their research projects emphasized the interdisciplinary nature of the program. Topics included photography and literary theory, theology and narrative, catechesis and education, and one student traveled to the United Kingdom to study with one of the premier James Bond scholars for her work.

For more information about these programs, visit or

Posted by on May 15, 2020.