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Noted physician and Civil Rights leader to address OU-HCOM graduates

(ATHENS, Ohio – April 11, 2013) Distinguished osteopathic physician, surgeon, educator and historic civil rights leader William G. Anderson, D.O., will deliver the keynote address at the 34th Commencement at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM).

Dr. Anderson founded and was the first president of the Albany Movement, considered the first mass movement in the modern civil rights struggle with the goal of desegregation of an entire community. In December 1961, the movement resulted in the jailing of more than 1,000 African-Americans in southwestern Georgia during a one week period, including Anderson and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Anderson and King, a friend of his wife’s family, themselves became friends while Anderson taught at the Atlanta College of Mortuary Science before attending medical school and when King attended Morehouse College.

“Dr. Anderson is and has been a leader in our profession for more than a half century,” said OU-HCOM Executive Dean Kenneth H. Johnson, D.O. “His career and unwavering dedication are an inspiration to us all. We are honored that he will be addressing our new graduates, their family members, friends, faculty and staff this year.”

Dr. Anderson earned his doctor of osteopathic medicine degree from the Des Moines Still College of Osteopathy in Iowa (now the Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine) in 1956. He later became the first African-American to join the board of directors of the American Osteopathic Association where he served for 20 years, including a term as president.

In 1986 Dr. Anderson received the OU-HCOM Phillips Medal of Public Service, the college’s highest honor. In 2009, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Osteopathic Foundation, recognizing the role he played both within and without the osteopathic profession. Barbara Ross-Lee, D.O., former dean of OU-HCOM, credited Dr. Anderson with encouraging her to apply for the college dean position. Three of Dr. Anderson’s children, a son-in-law and a granddaughter, are all osteopathic physicians.

The 113 new graduates this year will join the ranks of 2,898 alumni from OU-HCOM. The ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 11, in the Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium. Approximately 62 percent of this year’s graduates will enter a primary care residency of family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics or a traditional internship. More than 70 percent will remain in Ohio to practice.

OU-HCOM will broadcast the Commencement ceremony live on the Internet at

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Last updated: 01/28/2016