2018 College of Osteopathic Medical College Commencements

Congratulations to the Class of 2018!

2018 NYITCOM commencement 2018 NYITCOM commencement 2018 NSU-KPCOM commencement 2018 NSU-KPCOM commencement 2018 ATSU-SOMA Commencement 2018 ATSU-KCOM commencement 2018 TUNCOM graduates 2018 TUNCOM graduates holding TUNCOM banner 2018 TouroCOMNY Dean David Forstein with Student DO of the Year Gabrielle Jasmin 2018 TouroCOMNY Commencement speaker Dr. Kevin O'Connor 2018 TouroCOMNY graduate class 2018 RVUCOM Commencement speakers 2018 LMUDCOM graduates' cap toss 2018 CCOM graduates 2018 CCOM graduates 2018 CCOM  graduate with Dean Karen Nichols 2018 AZCOM graduates 2018 WesternUCOMP-NW Commencement1 2018_WesternUCOMP-NW Commencement2 2018_CUSOM male graduate and female pose in front of the CUSOM camel sculpture From left to right: VCOM-VC Dean, Dr. Willcox, AACOM President and CEO, Dr. Shannon, and VCOM President Dr. Tooke-Rawlins to the right. 2018 WVSOM commencement speaker Governor James C. Justice, II 2018 WVSOM Commencement graduates 2018 WVSOM Commencement graduates cap toss 2018 VCOM-CC Commencement speaker Dr. Barbara Ross Lee 2018 VCOM-CC Commencement graduate group photo 2018 VCOM-CC Commencement graduates toss their caps 2018 VCOM VC Commencement graduates 2018 VCOM VC Commencement graduates group photo 2018 OU-HCOM graduates at commencement ceremony 2018 MSUCOM graduates 2018 LUCOM graduates 2018 LUCOM graduates 2018 LUCOM graduates 2018 GA-PCOM graduates 2018 CUSOM commencement ceremony 2018 CUSOM commencement speaker Dr. Boyd Buser

College commencements and pictures are added as we receive submissions.

This year's graduation ceremonies spanned the nation. Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) celebrated the milestone of its first graduating class. Notable commencement speakers include Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH, President and CEO of AACOM, who gave speeches at VCOM-Virginia and RVUCOM; Barbara Ross-Lee, DO, FACONP, who inspired VCOM-Carolinas; Benjamin S. Carson, MD, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, who gave LUCOM's first-ever commencement speech; and James C. Justice, II, West Virginia Governor, who presented at WVSOM. Read more about college graduations and speakers below.

AZCOM Commencement

On Wednesday, May 30, the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine (AZCOM) at Midwestern University honored the graduating Class of 2018 at commencement ceremonies held at the University’s Glendale Campus. Two hundred sixty-three AZCOM students received their DO degrees during the ceremony, including 27 active-duty members of the United States Armed Forces. The AZCOM commencement was a family affair, with 92 family hooders taking part in the ceremony.

ATSU-KCOM Commencement

A.T. Still University’s Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM) celebrated a new class of 174 graduates on May 19, 2018, in Baldwin Hall Auditorium at Truman State University. Of the 174 graduates, 169 received their doctor of osteopathic medicine degree and five received their biomedical sciences degree. Eleven graduates will join the military forces.

Thomas C. Gentile Jr., MSA, received an honorary doctor of osteopathic education degree, and Karen J. Nichols, DO, MA, MACOI, CS, received an honorary doctor of osteopathic medicine degree. She also served as commencement speaker for the ceremony. “The essence of being a really excellent physician is in caring,” said Dr. Nichols as she addressed the class of 2018. Read more.

ATSU-SOMA Commencement

A.T. Still University’s School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA) celebrated the achievements of 105 graduates from the class of 2018 at its commencement ceremony, held at the Mesa Arts Center, on Friday, May 25.

The School’s eighth graduating class was congratulated by ATSU President Craig Phelps, DO, and Dean Jeffrey Morgan, DO, for their accomplishments.

Douglas Spegman, MD, Chief Medical Officer at El Rio Community Health Center, was the commencement speaker. He welcomed the new doctors to the profession and challenged them to honor the legacy of ATSU’s founder, Andrew Taylor Still, DO, by embracing and creating change.

CCOM Commencement

The Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine honored 193 graduates who earned a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) degree on May 24. CCOM maintains a 100 percent residency placement for all graduating classes. In 2018, 66 percent of CCOM students matched to primary care residencies which include family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, and OB/GYN, while the rest of the class will pursue various specialties including emergency medicine, orthopedic surgery, neurological surgery, pathology, radiology, psychiatry, and anesthesiology. In addition, 44 percent of the class will stay in Illinois for their postdoctoral programs with the rest traveling to 28 other states.

During the ceremony, Class of 2018 valedictorian Srikanth Vedachalam, DO, shared his recollections about medical school. In addition, Kathleen H. Goeppinger, PhD, President and CEO of Midwestern University, acknowledged the many achievements of the graduates during their years of rigorous study and clinical experiences. “I want you to always remember that you are well-trained, you are well-educated, and you can be successful.” Dr. Goeppinger told the graduates. “As you move forward, go with confidence that you are ready to become part of the health care team.”

CUSOM Commencement

Any doctor can find the disease. But it takes a special physician to find the health in a patient. “Finding the health” was a theme in the speeches during the commencement ceremony on May 10 for the second class of doctors from Campbell University’s Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine (CUSOM).

From Barbara Walker, DO, member of the University’s Board of Trustees who encouraged the students before her to “listen with your hearts and treat your patients with love” to Boyd R. Buser, DO, immediate Past President of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) who challenged the graduates to value their relationships with their patients—the 150 new CUSOM physicians and 16 Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences graduates left the Pope Convocation Center Thursday morning with a heightened sense of responsibility as they embarked on their careers. Read more.

Photos for CUSOM courtesy of Bennett Scarborough and Lynsey Trembly.

DMU-COM Commencement

J.D. Polk, DO, MS, MMM, CPE, FACOEP, FAsMA, the Chief Health and Medical Officer of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Washington, DC, advised graduates at Des Moines University’s 118th Commencement on May 25 to find their passion, have humility, and be decisive in his keynote speech. Former dean of DMU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (DMU-COM), he expressed pleasure at addressing the graduates, who were the first class he helped recruit when he was dean.

“I had planned to be at the University for a much longer period of time,” he said. “Board scores were on a steep upward slope, the first-time pass rate was on a steep upward slope, we had just hired 14 outstanding faculty…research had increased over 70 percent. The residency match rate was 100 percent. We had just placed a new ultrasound program in place... But NASA had called and asked for me to return to work on the human systems requirements for exploration, and there was a chance that I would become the chief medical officer of the entire agency. No DO had ever been the chief medical officer of NASA. If successful, I would be the first."

Des Moines University awarded 455 degrees to this year’s graduates. A video of the ceremony can be viewed via the University’s website, https://www.dmu.edu/.

LMU-DCOM Commencement

The Class of 2018 of Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM) celebrated its commencement on Saturday, May 12 at the Tex Turner Arena on the LMU main campus in Harrogate, TN. Joseph F. Smiddy, MD, LMU Board of Trustees member, served as commencement speaker.

Smiddy is well-known in the Kingsport, TN, area for his decades of service as a pulmonologist. Yet Dr. Smiddy’s commitment to serving the underserved goes far beyond his local community. Now retired from pulmonology practice, Dr. Smiddy spends his time as the medical director for the St. Mary’s Health Wagon based in Clinchco, VA, and as the medical advisor and tractor trailer driver for the Appalachian Miles for Smiles dental charity. Read more.

LUCOM Commencement

Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) achieved a new milestone in its history as 126 osteopathic medical students were honored through graduation into the osteopathic profession on Saturday, May 19. This was the first class to graduate since the COM opened August 2014. Graduates were symbolically hooded inside the main sanctuary of Thomas Road Baptist Church, the same location as the inaugural White Coat Ceremony. The commencement speaker was Benjamin S. Carson, MD, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“You are the focus of our celebration today,” said Peter Bell, DO, Dean of LUCOM. “We are thanking God for each of you and this day…because of your magnificent accomplishments, for completion of medical school, and achieving a match rate for residencies that exceeds the national average–congratulations.” Read more.

MSUCOM Commencement

The Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MUSCOM)’s Class of 2018 walked into the Breslin Student Events Center on May 3 as medical students and walked out as osteopathic physicians.

The College’s commencement and hooding ceremony included an address by 1992 MSUCOM alumnus Jeffrey Morgan, DO, Dean of A.T. Still University’s School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona (ATSU-SOMA).

Dr. Morgan told the graduates that the power and authority that a physician possesses comes with immense responsibility and that it is incumbent on them as doctors to show the world what it means to demonstrate integrity, character, and responsibility. Read more

NYITCOM Commencement

New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM)’s newest osteopathic physicians received their doctoral hoods during a ceremony on May 22. Speakers urged the 281 graduates to be the difference in their patients’ lives, while also remembering to practice compassion for one’s self. 

“Put ethics, commitment, work dedication, and compassion before ego and try to weave sufficiently long periods of fun into your new fabric as a physician. Start now and remember: a good sense of humor means finding something to laugh at when others see only problems,” said Wolfgang Gilliar, DO, Dean of NYITCOM. “Remember that you are valuable...your career is just beginning! Use your knowledge to become a catalyst for others.”

NSU-KPCOM Commencement

Senior Week at Nova Southeastern Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine (NSU-KPCOM) culminated on Friday, May 18 when 239 DO, 80 Master of Public Health, 19 Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics, six Master of Science in Nutrition, three Master of Science in Medical Education degrees, and two Master of Disaster and Emergency Management degrees were conferred.

During the ceremony, graduates were acknowledged for their accomplishments in front of an enthusiastic audience filled with family, friends, and faculty members. U.S. Representative Carlos Curbelo, of Florida’s 26th Congressional District, served as the keynote speaker and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree as part of the ceremony.

OU-HCOM Commencement

Addressing the largest-ever class to graduate from the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM), commencement speaker Richard A. “Rick” Vincent, MBA, advised the graduates to never forget the ideals of patient care that initially drew them to medicine. “Don’t lose sight of why you became physicians,” he said during the 2018 commencement at the Ohio University Convocation Center in Athens on May 12. “Remember why you started that journey in the first place.”

Vincent, who recently retired as President and CEO of the Osteopathic Heritage Foundations, was instrumental in OHF’s provision over the years of more than $123 million in support for the College, including the transformational Vision 2020 award of $105 million in 2011.

The 2018 commencement, the 39th for the medical college, saw 178 graduates receive DO degrees, including the first 48 from its Dublin campus, which opened in 2014. About 47 percent of the class will be doing residencies in primary care fields and about 62 percent of the class will be staying in Ohio for their residencies. Read more.

PCOM Commencement

“Remember this: you are human beings first and osteopathic physicians second.” With those words, Jay S. Feldstein, DO, President and CEO, began PCOM’s 127th DO commencement ceremony with a charge for the new doctors: don’t focus solely on your clinical and scientific skills, but on your humanity as well.

Humanism and compassion for others was a thread that wove its way throughout this year’s festivities; at Commencement rehearsal a few days prior, each of the 254 graduating students was treated to a special gift: a book of poetry from alumnus Murray Zedeck, DO, meant to provide a brief respite from the stress of the new doctors’ careers.

Keynote speaker and honorary degree recipient Paul S. Zeitz, DO, MPH, a physician, epidemiologist, and advocate for universal justice, also implored the graduates to use their voice to stand up for others.

“As physicians you will be on the front lines of what happens in human society,” he said. “As your journey unfolds you will have a chance to use your voice. I ask you to speak truth, be bold and serve justice for all, in all of the places you will find yourselves.” Read more.

GA-PCOM Commencement

Nearly 300 students graduated with doctorate degrees in osteopathic medicine and master’s degrees in pharmacy and biomedical sciences on Thursday, May 24, 2018, from Georgia Campus–Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (GA-PCOM). Commencement ceremonies took place at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth, GA.

PCOM President Jay Feldstein, DO, addressed the graduates, saying, “As health care professionals, it is your profound duty and privilege to honor the humanity of those who suffer. Feel awe and be humbled in your engagements. The prospect of healing rests in your work and in your sense of compassion.”

He added, “Compassion is the embodiment of the wholeness of our osteopathic philosophy–a true recognition of the person as mind, body and spirit.”

Paul Evans, DO, FACOFP, a senior medical education consultant and the Founding Dean of GA-PCOM, delivered the commencement address at the afternoon ceremony. During his talk entitled, “Learning from Failure,” he shared principles that he hopes will become a cornerstone for the graduates’ professional lives. Read more.

RVUCOM Commencement

On May 19, Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine (RVUCOM) held its commencement ceremony for the class of 2018. This was the seventh graduating class of RVUCOM and its second graduating class of the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences (MSBS). Following a rendition of the National Anthem, Clinton Adams, DO, FACHE, President and CEO, welcomed the audience. Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH, President of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, delivered the commencement address: “I believe that the future of medicine is sitting before me today and that future is brighter for the unique outlook each of you will bring to your patients, your colleagues, and your communities.”

Following the keynote, 26 MSBS students were hooded and received their diplomas. Next, 150 RVUCOM students were hooded by loved ones, received their diplomas, then recited the osteopathic oath together. Dr. Adams honored two faculty members with the Presidential Award of Excellence: Walter Buck, PhD, and Michael Martin, PhD (who tragically passed away in May). For the last segment of the ceremony, 28 graduates were commissioned as military officers by General James P. McCarthy (retired).

TouroCOM-NY Commencement

At a celebratory gathering that included bagpipes, an electric piano, and a flutist, the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (TouroCOM-NY) conferred diplomas upon 126 members of the Class of 2018 on May 29 at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, NY.

Keynote speaker Colonel Kevin C. O’Connor, DO, Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of Executive Medicine at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, embraced that message and took it a step further in telling the graduates to be “good” doctors–not “great” doctors.

“You were taught to be ‘good’ by the people in this theatre today. The things that make you good are the intangibles,” he said. “Good doctors make eye contact and are active listeners. Good doctors truly empathize and take on small portions of their patients’ suffering–enough to be ‘affected’. Good doctors genuinely love their patients. Love your patients with abandon. Make yourselves available to them.”

About 55 percent of the class, 69 graduates, will become residents in primary care, which includes internal medicine, pediatrics, family medicine, and OB/GYN.  The remainder will be residents in anesthesiology, radiology, psychiatry, emergency medicine, general surgery, or have rotating internships. Approximately 70 percent will be serving the underserved and 21 graduates, 17 percent of the class, are underrepresented minorities–two cornerstones of TouroCOM’s mission.

VCOM-Carolinas Commencement

VCOM–Carolinas celebrated its commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 19 in Spartanburg, SC. After years of intense study, dizzying rotations, and many weeks of international outreach, 147 new physicians received the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree, and will now move forward into residency placements throughout the nation. At least 65 percent of the Class of 2018 will pursue residencies in primary care in Appalachian and/or rural sites. Supportive family members, friends, and members of the VCOM faculty, staff, and students attended the ceremony, which was held at Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium. It was the fourth class to graduate from VCOM since the school opened in Spartanburg in 2011. VCOM-Carolinas was honored to welcome Barbara Ross-Lee, DO, FACONP, as commencement speaker. The first African-American woman ever to hold the position of dean at an osteopathic medical school, Dr. Ross-Lee drew from a rich career of dedicated service to inspire and challenge the graduating class.

VCOM-Virginia Commencement

On Saturday, May 5, the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine–Virginia (VCOM-Virginia) campus in Blacksburg, VA graduated 182 new doctors of osteopathic medicine. The commencement ceremony took place in Burruss Hall on Virginia Tech’s campus. Family, friends, VCOM faculty, and distinguished guests were in attendance to celebrate this milestone in the Class of 2018’s medical careers.

Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH, President and CEO of AACOM, addressed the graduating class. Dr. Shannon’s speech was about being present with patients and have good communication as a foundation of medicine. “It is not only the evolving and advancing scientific and technological progress in medicine that you need to continually master, it is being in touch with the everyday life of your patients and families, and participating in your communities that will make you better and better at what you do,” said Dr. Shannon.

WesternU/COMP Commencement

WesternU/COMP graduated 219 DOs from its Pomona, CA campus at its commencement ceremony May 25, 2018 in Pasadena, CA. On June 1, 102 DOs graduated from WesternU/COMP’s Lebanon, OR campus. The keynote speaker for WesternU/COMP’s Pasadena ceremony, UC Irvine Professor of Neurology Howard J. Federoff, PhD, MD, advised graduates to avoid burnout by balancing work and home life. He also told them to be self-aware, bond with their team, and be a provider and an advocate.

“Rather than harnessing the best evidence and attempting to offer your best recommendation, you should consult with your patient, the key person at the center of the medical issue,” Federoff said. “When knowledge is contextualized and patients are informed, we can do the best for everyone. Moreover, we learn from every patient. They inspire us to refine our craft. The patient is a vital part of our journey to learn and impart knowledge to others.”

In Lebanon, WesternU/COMP Vice Dean David Connett, DO, FACOFP, stressed in his keynote speech the importance of time prioritization.

“The most important commodity in your life will be time. Don’t forget these words that I tell you. Time is a predator,” he said. “It’ll encroach on your kids’ soccer games, children’s birthday parties, and ceremonial banquets. These are just as important as you seeing your patients or going to galas as a physician.” Read more about the Pomona campus commencement and the Lebanon campus commencement.

WVSOM Commencement

This year, 189 participating graduates in the Class of 2018 received their medical degrees from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) at the school’s 41st annual commencement ceremony that took place on May 26.

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice delivered the keynote speech to graduates, their families and friends, and WVSOM faculty and guests at the school’s campus in Lewisburg.

He acknowledged that the medical students were an elite group of graduates, but life’s journey is long and there is always room to be better.

“I would tell you that this life is now going to take you on a journey,” he told the graduates. “What do you have to do in life to get better? I would bet you would say study harder, or be more focused, be more determined, communicate better or try harder, but I would tell you just this: If you want to get better in this life the first thing you need to do is admit you’re doing something wrong. It’s the foundation of everything around us. We often times forget that.”

Justice said that after medical school there may be times when life will be tough, but being a graduate of WVSOM will have great rewards.