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Istanbul Native Earns Doctorate of Physical Therapy Degree

Ozcan Dalgic, DPT, a native of Kadikoy, Istanbul, Turkey, earned his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from Misericordia University at ceremonies on Dec. 14 in Dallas, Pennsylvania, United States of America (USA).

Dr. Dalgic was one of 63 students who earned their degree in the university’s first class of the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. He earned a 3.61 grade point average (GPA) based on a 4.0 scale.

One of nine children of Mahmut and Gulsum Dalgic of Kadikoy, Dr. Dalgic, age 33, was a member of the Turkish National Badminton Team from 1996 to 1999 and was named national champion in 1997 and 1998. He served as badminton coach at Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey from 1998-99.

Dr. Dalgic attended Marmara University in Anadolu Hisari, Istanbul, Turkey and earned a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education degree in 2001. He subsequently served as a physical education teacher at Yeditepe University Hearing Disabilities School, Istanbul, Turkey.

He served in the Turkish Army from 2002 to 2003 before immigrating to the United States in 2005 to learn English.

Dr. Dalgic spent time in Florida before moving to Trenton, New Jersey, where he earned his second degree, an associate’s degree in biology, from Mercer County Community College (MCCC). While a student at MCCC, he was twice named to the Dean’s Honors List for having a 3.5 or above GPA and was named to the President’s Honors List for having a cumulative GPA of 4.0.

He says he is very competitive and loves to play sports. When he could not find any place to play badminton close to MCCC, he decided to learn to play tennis. He became a member of the tennis team at MCCC at the end of the semester. He advanced quickly and by the end of the year earned the Regional XIX Tennis Championships Single 3rd flight champion trophy in 2006 and again in 2007. He also participated in National Junior College Athletic Association Division III national championship both years making it through to the semifinals match.

It was while he was working as a personal trainer at the Hamilton Center for Health and Wellness at the Robert Wood Johnson Hospital, in Hamilton, New Jersey, that Dr. Dalgic realized his passion for helping people and decided to pursue a doctorate in physical therapy. He was accepted into the inaugural class of the Misericordia University entry-level DPT program in Pennsylvania and started classes in January of 2011.

Many of the students in his class began the program as first-year undergraduates and completed the program in six-and-a-half years. Others in the cohort came in, as did Dr. Dalgic, as graduate students with an undergraduate degree in hand.

While a student at Misericordia, Dr. Dalgic conducted research on whether patients with chronic low back pain experience greater decreases in lower back pain with McKenzie treatment techniques than patients who receive traditional physical therapy. He and his fellow student researchers reviewed, analyzed and presented the project, “A call for clarification: Are McKenzie Methods and Directional Preference approaches for patients with low back pain the same?” to the campus community.

He has done clinical work at St. Mary’s Hospital, Langhorne, Pennsylvania; NovaCare Orthopedic Rehabilitation Center, Roosevelt, Pennsylvania; Ivy Rehabilitation Center, Princeton, New Jersey; and at St. John of God Community Services, Westville, New Jersey. 

Dr. Dalgic says the hardest challenge at Misericordia was keeping up with his peers while still trying to master the English language. “The faculty and students at Misericordia were very kind and helpful. Whenever I had a problem or struggle about something, I could easily approach my fellow classmates or any faculty member to obtain help,” Dr. Dalgic says.

He offers sincere thanks to the people who supported him during his journey whose support helped him reach this goal. “The reason I was able to achieve this dream was because I believed in myself and my family. The people who supported me believed in me and I could not fail them,” Dr. Dalgic adds.

He says he was proud to have the Turkish flag on the Misericordia University stage during the ceremony. “I was proud to hold the Turkish flag to show my people how proud I am, and hold the U.S flag to show respect to the country where I earned my degree. It represents the importance of peace and friendship between the two countries,” Dr. Dalgic says.

There were 319 students in the graduation class from 13 U.S. states, including California, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont and West Virginia, as well as Turkey. For more information about the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Misericordia University, please go to

Founded and Sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy in 1924, Misericordia University is Luzerne County’s first four-year college and offers 34 academic programs on the graduate and undergraduate levels in full and part-time formats. The University has more than 3,000 full and part-time students.

The Misericordia University campus is located on over 124 acres approximately 193 kilometers west of New York City. It holds a “Best Northeastern College” designation by the Princeton Review, a student-survey based measure of quality colleges and universities. The Princeton Review profile describes Misericordia University’s academic programs as “very challenging’’ and “the coursework is rigorous,’’ so “it all adds up in the end’’ to a highly marketable degree. Misericordia is also ranked in the top tier, 52 out of 183 colleges and universities, in the Best Regional Universities – North category of U.S. News and World Report’s 2012 edition of Best Colleges.