ATHENS, Ohio -- As the 102 graduates of the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine put the bulk of their medical education into the past at the school's 24th graduation exercises June 7 at Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium, they heard encouraging words from a shining example from OU-COM's first graduating class about the potential in their future.
"The road I've traveled has not been straight, easy, well-marked or illuminated. Nonetheless, it has brought me to a place where I have been able to use my skills and talents to be a reflection and legacy on my education and profession," said commencement speaker Robert Biscup, D.O. ('80). "The ability to see the big picture, to bring to bear multiple perspectives, resources and points of view and the ability be able to change and adapt to any situation is what I believe is the hallmark of a successful physician."
Ohio University President Robert Glidden, Ph.D., served as presiding officer for the ceremony. He and Biscup were joined onstage by OU-COM Dean Jack Brose, D.O.; Ohio University Trustee Larry Schey; OU-COM associate dean for graduate medical education Keith Watson, D.O.,; Jay Shubrook, D.O. ('96), president of the OU-COM Society of Alumni and Friends; William Burke, D.O. ('88), former chair of the OU-COM Alumni Association board of directors; Peter Bell, D.O., assistant dean for the Southeast Ohio Center for Osteopathic Research and Education (CORE) and president of the Ohio Osteopathic Association; Kim Ronald Ruth, D.O. ('03), representative of the OU-COM Class of 2003.
Biscup titled his speech "Chair to Chair," referring to the odyssey that led him from his classroom chair as a first-year medical student to his current role as Chairman of the Cleveland Clinic Florida Spine Institute in Weston, Fla. "What lessons have I learned from chair to Chair? First, you have to be a generalist. Break things down into their component parts, then solve each puzzle individually and the entire picture will become clear.
"Be a team player, be versatile. The osteopathic physician of today and tomorrow must be a scientist, a clinician, a humanist, an administrator, a politician, an educator and, most importantly, a spouse and a parent."
While overcast skies threatened rain outside Memorial Auditorium, the ceremony marked the fourth time OU-COM's graduation was an event separate from Ohio University's other graduation ceremonies. The university's commencement for graduate students takes place takes place Friday, June 13, and commencement for undergraduates is Saturday, June 14. For the second year in a row OU-COM's commencement speaker was a representative from OU-COM's inaugural graduating class. Last year, William Schlotterer, D.O. ('80) served as commencement speaker.
Glidden noted that OU-COM, since its inception in 1975, has been a vanguard providing family physicians to rural and underserved areas. The Class of 2003 (58 men and 44 women) include 25 members of a racial minority, 11 natives of Southeastern Ohio and two "legacies" - sons or daughters of osteopathic physicians. "Each and every member of this class can be proud of his or her own hard work and dedication in continuing this important legacy," Glidden said.
In addition to the 102 physicians comprising OU-COM's Class of 2003, 1,844 physicians have graduated from OU-COM since the inaugural Class of 1980.