As David Doyle drove through the scenic city of Petoskey, Michigan Thursday, he couldn’t help but feel a little homesick for the community of friends and mentors he’s left behind at Palm Beach Atlantic University.

“It’s been the hardest thing in leaving and moving on,” said the recent biology graduate as he reminisced about PBA during a phone interview.

“It’s a rare and honest gem of a university,” said Doyle. “It has a great mix of professors willing to teach…and prepare you for a world that really needs the love of Christ, and it has a great undergraduate population that’s really focused on learning.”

For Doyle, the four years at PBA afforded him many unexpected rewards including opportunities to pursue his literary passions along with his love of the sciences. He excelled academically overall, graduating May 5 magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology.

His scholastic achievements and noteworthy intramural and extracurricular activities including peer mentoring and medical mission work, also earned him the honor of being named the Outstanding Graduate for the School of Arts & Sciences by its faculty.

“I’ve been so blessed,” said Doyle, 22, who’s originally from Linden, Michigan.

With graduation in the rear view mirror, Doyle said he’s been working on the next steps that will help prepare him for medical school.  Among them, a new job as a patient care technician at McLaren Northern Michigan hospital, which he’ll start on Monday. The ultimate goal, he said is a career in medicine.

“I like anything to do with chemistry and I like hands-on stuff like dealing with trauma, so maybe a trauma medic,” Doyle noted.

While at the West Palm Beach-based University, Doyle served in several capacities including as a biology lab technician, student government executive director of policies and was a Frederick M. Supper Honors Program scholar and a nationally recognized Who’s Who top achiever.  He also held editorial roles for the Living Waters Review publication of Literature and Art produced by PBA students and alumni.

Described as a “gifted and extraordinary writer,” by his professors, Doyle not only found an outlet for his creativity in Living Waters, but also in the advanced workshop course Creative Writing for Publication, which helped him to find publishers for his work.

During his time at PBA, Doyle was able through the guidance of Professor David Athey, to get his creative works published in a handful of academic publications including North Central College’s 30N and Boston University’s literary journal, Coup D’Etat.

Another signature PBA moment he recalled Thursday happened during his sophomore year when he went on a medical mission trip to Manaus, Brazil in summer 2016.

“It was incredible,” Doyle said of the Amazon medical mission, his first overseas trip not counting Canada. The experience afforded him the opportunity to work with doctors and nurses from other regions, experience a new culture and gain an appreciation of the universality of medical needs and power of Christ’s love, he said.

Doyle also reflected on two of the professors at PBA – Dr. Beate Rodewald and Dr. Sanaz Dovell –  whom he said had a “huge impact” on his undergraduate experience.

“Both of them are humble and focused… and geniuses in their fields,” he said. “They both embody learning for the sake of learning and learning for Christ.”

Throughout the years, Doyle was equally regarded by PBA faculty.

“With all those gifts, he is also humble, kind, generous and thoughtful,”  said Dean Robert Lloyd before  conferring the school’s top scholar recognition on Doyle. “He’s a joy to teach.”