Thirty-Two Complete Doctor of Chiropractic Program

Sherman College

Graduation June 2017

Thirty-two students from around the world received the doctor of chiropractic degree from Sherman College of Chiropractic in Spartanburg, SC, on Saturday, June 17, 2017. The commencement was a shared ceremony for June and September 2017 graduates.

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Kara Louise Gingras of New Hampshire, the recipient of the Milton W. Garfunkel Award, presented the farewell address to her classmates. The Garfunkel Award is the highest award given at graduation. Students receiving this honor must have a grade point average of 3.5 or above, and in addition, best exemplify those qualities Sherman College would like to inculcate in all of its graduates: love of the profession, an understanding of the philosophy, willingness to share, and service to the college and community.

Gingras also received the Academic Achievement Award. The Academic Achievement Award is given to the individual in each graduating class who maintains the highest grade point average throughout his or her studies at Sherman College.

The Clinical Excellence Award was presented to Gingras and also to Stephanie Marie Gates of New Jersey in recognition of their successful practices in the Health Center. This award is given to an intern in each class who has diligently worked to develop skills in the art, science, and philosophy of chiropractic, maintained an A average in the clinical program and exhibited superior overall clinical performance and professionalism.

Joseph Frank Messina of Connecticut and Breanna Rose Riggs Smith of Pennsylvania received the B.J. Palmer Philosophy Distinction Award. This honor is given to outstanding students who exemplify the profound philosophical understanding necessary to translate the universal principles of life into the workable philosophy, science, and art which is chiropractic.

The commencement address was given by Sherman College Executive Vice President Neil Cohen, D.C. Cohen is a 1986 graduate of Life Chiropractic who practiced for 28 years in Florida, where his goal was to empower and inspire parents to raise healthy, non-medicated families. In 2014, Dr. Cohen sold his practice to support Sherman College’s mission and vision as executive vice president. He is a sought-after platform speaker, sharing the chiropractic philosophy across the United States and around the world. His daughter, Sarah Rachel Cohen, graduated in the ceremony.

Douglas Gates, D.C., delivered the charge to the graduates. A 1974 graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic and a 1971 graduate of the State University of New York, Gates practices in Hillsdale, New Jersey. Dr. Gates held several crucial roles at Sherman College during the years following its founding, including faculty member, Technique Department chair, dean of continuing education, dean of the college and academic dean. He was also a faculty member at Pennsylvania College of Straight Chiropractic. Dr. Gates has published two textbooks: Correlative Spinal Anatomy in 1977 and Spinal Palpation in 1981. His daughter, Stephanie Marie Gates, graduated in the ceremony.

The doctor of chiropractic program at Sherman College requires students to complete more than 4,900 hours (14 quarters) of classroom and laboratory study and also includes an internship in the college’s on-campus Chiropractic Health Center. To enter the D.C. program, students must have at least 90 semester hours of college-level courses, including courses in the sciences.


Sherman College of Chiropractic provides students with a comprehensive chiropractic education, preparing them to enter the field as doctors of chiropractic who are highly skilled, compassionate, ethical and successful. On its 80-acre campus in South Carolina, Sherman offers a first professional degree program unique in its approach to health care and known globally for the skill and art of chiropractic delivered by graduates. For more information, visit or call 800-849-8771.

For more information, please contact:

Karen Rhodes

Director of Public Relations
Sherman College of Chiropractic
Phone: 800-849-8771, ext. 242