Posthumous degree awarded to PTA student

Matthew Hamilton had a smile that could light up a room, said Physical Therapy Program Director Jennifer Ball. Hamilton, who died Dec. 16 in an automobile accident, is being awarded an associate degree in physical therapy assistance posthumously at OCCC’s Commencement May 16.

“He has met all of the requirements to receive his posthumous degree,” Ball said.

“He had completed all of the academic portions of his degree and all he had left were his [clinical] internships.”

A memorial scholarship in Hamilton’s name also was recently created at OCCC.

Ball said the Matthew David Hamilton Scholarship is meant to alleviate the financial burdens for students in the physical therapy program.

Ball said Hamilton was always a joy to be around.

“He cared a lot for people, he cared a lot for his patients … . [He] was able to motivate them and encourage them,” she said. “A special hug from Matt would really make you just feel warm inside — he was just so genuinely caring.”

Ball said Hamilton’s family has been invited to accept his degree at the graduation ceremony.

“From my understanding … sometimes a family member will walk across the stage and receive the degree,” Ball said.

Ball said this is the first time the PTA department has awarded a student a posthumous degree.

“He’s a great guy and deserves all of the recognition,” Ball said.

For more information about the Matthew David Hamilton Memorial Scholarship, visit To contact Ball, call 405-682-7826.

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