Founding Program Director to Deliver Commencement Address at LMU-DPT Class of 2024 Inaugural Graduation

Kellee Harper-Hanigan

Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) is proud to announce that Kellee Harper-Hanigan, DPT, PhD, CHSE, WCC, will be the commencement speaker for the inaugural Class of 2024 graduation ceremony for the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program.

Harper-Hanigan, currently serving as the founding program director for the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at LMU-Knoxville and an associate professor of physical therapy, brings a wealth of expertise and experience to the occasion.

A distinguished academic and practitioner, she earned her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry with a minor in physiological psychology from Dartmouth College. Following this, she pursued her doctorate in physical therapy at the University of Southern California. Her dedication to research and addressing health disparities led her to complete a Post-Doctoral Research Assistantship at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, focusing on qualitative research methods and community-based participatory research to improve racial health disparities in birth outcomes. She furthered her academic pursuits by earning a PhD in epidemiology from Indiana University-Bloomington, with a focus on biomechanics and physical activity epidemiology.

Passionate about applying epidemiological methods to physical therapy research, her contributions extend beyond academia. She serves as the statistician reviewer for the Rehabilitation Oncology Journal published by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Academy of Oncologic Physical Therapy.

Harper-Hanigan's diverse clinical experience includes eight years in acute/intensive care settings and inpatient wound care. She is board-certified as a Geriatrics Clinical Specialist through the APTA and holds a wound care certification through the National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy. Her commitment to education is evidenced by her completion of the APTA's Fellowship in Higher Education Leadership in 2023 and her service to the profession as a reviewer for the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.

An accomplished author and presenter, Harper-Hanigan has shared her expertise at national conferences and has contributed to peer-reviewed publications and abstracts on various topics, including community-based participatory research and epidemiological methodology in physical therapy research.

The commencement ceremony is scheduled for Friday, May 10, at the Knoxville Convention Center, starting at 3:00 p.m.

Lincoln Memorial University is a values-based learning community dedicated to providing educational experiences in the liberal arts and professional studies. The main campus is located in Harrogate, Tennessee. For more information about the undergraduate and graduate programs available at LMU, contact the Office of Admissions at 423-869-6280 or email at

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