Photo: Students of the Class of 2011 recite the
Student Pledge of Commitment near the conclusion of the White Coat
Class of 2011
welcomed at 32nd Convocation Ceremony
by Kevin M. Sanders
Saturday, Aug. 18,
Ohio University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-COM) welcomed
a new class of medical students, the Class of 2011, at its 32nd
Convocation Ceremony. Sen. John Carey, of Ohio’s
17th Senate District,
was the keynote speaker at the event, which took place at 11 a.m. in
Athens at Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium.
OU-COM Dean Jack Brose, D.O.,
convened the event by welcoming the Class of 2011 and all those in
“We’re very proud of
this class. You are continuing our tradition of recruiting classes
that look like America. This year we have 25 members from racial or
ethnic minorities in this class.
class has not only the highest overall grade point average of any
incoming class in OU-COM history, but also the highest GPA in the
are very, very proud of this incoming class,” said Brose.
Brose introduced the
speakers and guests for the occasion, which included Kathy A.
Krendl, Ph.D., Ohio University executive vice president and provost;
Robert S. Juhasz, D.O., board of trustees member, American
Osteopathic Association; William F. “Rusty” Emlich, D.O. (’86),
president of the Ohio Osteopathic Association (OOA); Jeffrey A.
Stanley, D.O. (’82), president of the OU-COM Society of Alumni
and Friends; Carey; Fred M. DeGrandis, J.D., CEO of the Western
Region of the Cleveland Clinic Health System; Daniel F.
Dickriede, D.O. (’87), South Pointe Hospital emergency medicine
physician; Peter B. Dane, D.O., associate dean for
predoctoral education; D. Keith Watson, D.O., associate dean
for graduate medical education; Gillian H. Ice, Ph.D., M.P.H.,
associate professor of social medicine; John D. Schriner, Ph.D.,
director of admissions; and Daniel R. Silbiger, second-year
Emlich brought greeting from the
Ohio osteopathic medical community to the class.
“You are now beginning a career of
lifelong learning and will forever be an osteopathic student and
part of the osteopathic profession. Your opportunities are
He reminded them of the
life-altering and life-giving power that will be entrusted to them
as physicians, and as such, to pursue excellence in all that they do
professionally and personally.
“You are the future of our
profession. You have been granted the greatest opportunity to serve
mankind, and with it all the obligations that are commensurate with
Finally, he said, “Put your
patients first; you are becoming an osteopathic physician.”
The Class of 2011 is
comprised of 108 students, of which 59 are women and 49 are men.
Nearly one-quarter (25 of 108) are minority students. Also, 18 of
the class are from Appalachian counties in Ohio. The class is 87
percent Ohio residents.
Brose introduced the
ceremony’s keynote speaker, Carey, who serves as chairman of the
Finance and Financial Institutions Committee in the Ohio Senate.
Carey delivered a
reflective address, recalling his experiences growing up in Wellston
— where he eventually became mayor — and as a student at Ohio
University, where he began college in 1977.
“I grew up a quiet
kid in Wellston, a town about 35 miles west, working on my dad’s
trash truck. Needless to say, I was not the person most people would
pick to be in public office. However, I knew that I wanted to make a
difference in my community and our region.”
“It was this desire,”
he said, “to impact people’s lives that brought me to Ohio
University in the 1970s, a young, inexperienced kid — the first in
my family to go to college. In fact, I remember thinking that if I
flunked out my first quarter, I could join the military.”
“I short,” he said,
“I was scared.”
mapped out a career path in public service for himself, he said. He
would work for a state representative, U.S. Congressman and then
become mayor of Wellston. And he did exactly that.
Just as his education
at Ohio University made a difference in his life, OU-COM has made a
difference not only in the lives of the physicians it has trained,
but in the communities that it and those physicians serve. One such
physician, said Carey, is Douglas Jones, D.O., a 1981 OU-COM
graduate, who was recently named Wellston’s Man of the Year.
“His service has been
so important,” said Carey, “to the area, that for a time, if Dr.
Jones was not practicing in Wellston, there would have been no
doctor available. He has made a real difference.
“As incoming students
in the College of Osteopathic Medicine, I am confident that each one
of you will also make your mark on the world not only through your
medical practice but because of who each of you are as individuals.”
Carey addressed the
efforts of the state legislature and Gov. Ted Strickland to help
contain the costs of health care, which he said has put a tremendous
strain on not only governmental budgets, but family ones, too.
“At the same time we
are working to contain costs, we must also work to improve access to
quality health care,” he said, citing the expansion of Ohio’s Home
First program and State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which
improved access and affordability for children and seniors.
Focusing on the role
of the medical community, he said that although the state government
may help to pay for health care, “it will be you as practitioners of
medicine that will have biggest influence on the health of Ohioans.
“As I look out on
this crowd of future doctors, I am confident that Ohio’s health-care
system will have the resources to remain top notch well into the
“Just as I stepped on
this campus 30 years ago with the goal of becoming a public servant,
today begins your journey of realizing your goal of becoming
doctors. I cannot predict all that you will accomplish, the places
you will go, or the way medicine will change in the years to come,
but I wish you Godspeed in the process.”
Brose then began the
Phillips Medal of Public Service Ceremony.
The Phillips Medal of
Public Service was first awarded by OU-COM in 1976. The award was
named for Jody Galbreath Phillips and her husband, the late Wallace
Phillips, to acknowledge their generosity and contributions to Ohio
University, to higher education and to the people of Ohio.
The honor is given to
outstanding individuals for medical practice exemplifying the best
traditions of the osteopathic profession; administration
exemplifying the best tradition of humane, concerned administration
and public involvement; and for public policy leadership
exemplifying the best traditions of democratic concern for the
public good and the public welfare.
Brose provided the
audience with a description of each recipient’s accomplishments as
they received the medal.Keynote speaker Carey was one of three
recipients of the Phillips Medal. In addition to Carey, this year’s
recipients of the Phillips Medal were DeGrandis and Dickriede.
Carey, who has been a
public servant for nearly 30 years, was the state representative for
the 94th House District from 1995 to 2002 and also served
as a congressional aide for U.S. Congressman Clarence Miller.
He has had more than a dozen bills
signed into law including House Bill 94 (The State Budget, 124th
General Assembly), the Rural Industrial Park Loan Program and the
comprehensive rewrite of Fireworks Safety Regulations in the wake of
the Scottown tragedy. He has received
several awards for his legislative prowess, including the 2002
National Republican Legislator of the Year award.
DeGrandis, a past
chairman of OU-COM’s Centers for Osteopathic Research and Education
Board, has been a leader in hospital administration for more than 30
years, serving as legal counsel, president and CEO of various
health-care institutions in the Greater Cleveland area. He also has
an outstanding record of public service, and has been honored
numerous times for such, including receiving the All Ohio School
Board Award and the 2006 Exemplar Award for Community Service.
certified by the American Colleges of Osteopathic Emergency
Physicians, was one of the first Americans to volunteer with the
Nobel Prize-winning organization Medécins Sans Frontières, or
Doctors Without Borders. From 1992 to 1994, he provided emergency
medical assistance in war-torn Somalia, Afghanistan and
Rwanda. Dickriede is the first alum to receive a Phillips Medal of
The Convocation also
included the school’s White Coat Ceremony, officiated by Dane,
during which the members of the Class of 2011 received their white
Dane explained the
meaning and purpose of the White Coat Ceremony. “According to the
Arnold P. Gold Foundation, who inspired this ceremony, the bestowing
of a white clinical coat to new members of our profession represents
a rite of passage that establishes a ‘contract for professionalism
and empathy in the practice of medicine.’ It signifies the blending
of scientific excellence with compassionate patient care.
“At OU-COM,” Dane
continued, “it also highlights the importance we place on early
exposure of our trainees to clinical medicine, which they will
experience within a few short weeks as they begin spending time with
physicians and other health-care workers.”
second-year student Silbiger, who remembered the excitement and
anxiety he felt last year while sitting in the same place the
students of the Class of 2011 were in this year.
He offered them some
advice he hoped would help guide them through their four years of
“Always offer your
patients, peers, nurses, physicians and professors plenty of
respect. Courtesy,” he said, “seldom exacerbates situations or
with uncertainty and be secure with yourself. When you don’t know
the answer, you need to say, ‘I don’t know.’
Overestimating yourself will certainly limit you.
“Always be a team
player. Working together will provide the best results for your
introduced the members of the class, as they crossed the stage and
Dane led the class in
a recitation of the Student Pledge of Commitment, and the event was
Brose then closed the
Convocation and invited the students and guests to enjoy a light
buffet lunch and refreshments in new Baker University Center.