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Heritage College staffers cheer on the class of 2019 as they enter Baker Ballroom.


Heritage College opens its arms to first three-campus class, biggest in its history

(ATHENS, Ohio — July 6, 2015) This year, with the addition of 51 students at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine’s newest campus in Cleveland, the incoming class of 2019 easily sets the record as largest in the college’s history, at 240 students. This breaks the previous record held by the class of 2018; that class, swelled to 190 members by the 2014 opening of the college’s campus in Dublin, had gotten to enjoy biggest-ever status for exactly one year.

The entire three-campus class – 139 enrolled at Athens, 50 at Dublin and 51 at Cleveland – arrived in Athens Sunday evening, July 5, to begin orientation. As they filed into Ohio University’s Baker Center Ballroom early the next morning, they were welcomed by cheering, sign-waving college staffers including Heritage College Executive Dean Kenneth Johnson, D.O., and Dublin and Cleveland deans William Burke, D.O. (’88) and Isaac Kirstein, D.O.

In speaking to the students, Johnson recalled that after the college was founded in 1975, its first incoming class of 1980 comprised two dozen students – one-tenth the size of the class of 2019.

“Who would have known that in 40 years we would go from 24 students to 240 students?” he marveled. “You’re all a part of that history.”

Orientation speakers laid a heavy emphasis on the empathy and compassion that the college expects from – and works to instill in – its graduates.

Jane Penwell, who works in outreach for Ohio University, shared tales of the personal physicians, good and bad, that she’s known as a patient. The bad ones, she said, have ignored her input on her own medical condition. The good ones have listened to what she had to say and made clear that they cared about her as a person.

“Always remember – be a human being,” she advised the students. “Open yourself to your patients. Get them to trust you and believe in you.”

Kirstein agreed that the key to a physician’s success is “listening to your patients. In the end, you just have to walk in their shoes. And everyone has their own story.”

While celebrating the extraordinary growth that has added two campuses and 900 percent more students to the college since its founding, Johnson warned that keeping the sites unified will take a joint effort by all.

“My challenge to all of you is to be one class,” he told the students. “My request of all of you is to help me and help my team.”

Johnson noted that this is the first class in the college’s history to be chosen from among more than 5,000 applicants, and that some 98 percent of them – all but five individuals – come from within Ohio.

After two days’ worth of shared orientation in Athens, the Dublin and Cleveland contingents will continue the process on their home campuses starting Wednesday. They will be back together again in Athens July 25 for the Heritage College’s 40th Annual Convocation and White Coat Ceremony.

  Office of Communication
Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
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Last updated: 01/28/2016