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OU-COM welcomes largest class during ceremony

By Richard Heck

August, 16, 2009

The 120 members of the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-COM) Class of 2013 enter their medical education at a crucial time for both the State of Ohio and the nation, said Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Eric Fingerhut.  

Fingerhut delivered the keynote address at OU-COM’s 34th Convocation Ceremony held Saturday at the Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium. 

“At every time of challenge and every time of opportunity, the people of the State of Ohio and its leaders turn to higher education and say, ‘Show us the way, find the breakthroughs, study the subjects, bring together the best and the brightest from around the world to show us the way into the future,’” Fingerhut said. “And now we turn to you because you come to us at precisely one of those moments when the leaders of this state and the leaders of this nation are asking higher education to help show us the way.”

Fingerhut said this is no truer in any endeavor than it is in the area of medicine. “How exciting it must be to begin studying medicine at a time when you cannot turn on the television, turn on a news program, open a newspaper, and not see that the country and the world is debating the future of medicine, the future of health care, and how can we take care of all our citizens who need care,” he said.

The chancellor told the new medical students that the advancements and techniques they are going to learn to apply, the drugs and treatments with which they will become familiar, are just some of the ways they can help.  

“Our answer is that we place in your hands the challenges and the task. Today you begin the path to helping our state and our nation find the answers to these challenges,” he said. 

The chancellor reminded the audience that Ohio University – the state’s oldest institution of higher education – repeatedly has provided leadership to the state. With President Roderick McDavis, Ph.D., as chairman of Ohio’s Inter-University Council, and OU-COM Dean Jack Brose, D.O., a former leader of a similar council of Ohio medical schools, the university’s reputation for leadership continues, he said.

Fingerhut, who is leading the state’s creation of the University System of Ohio, said higher education is vital to the state’s future.  

“We can’t have enough higher education in Ohio; we can’t have enough young people training in technology, science and medicine,” Fingerhut said. “You are the state’s hope for the future and the nation’s hope for the future.” 

“We welcome you and look forward to all your great accomplishments,” Fingerhut concluded.

                     David P. Blom                             Eric Fingerhut

Highlighting Saturday’s event was the presentation to Fingerhut of the Phillips Medal of Public Service, made to individuals in recognition of outstanding contributions to health care, education and/or public service. The award is named for the late J. Wallace and Jody Galbreath Phillips, both longtime friends of Ohio University.

Fingerhut was honored with the award because of his distinguished career in public service, including serving as an Ohio state senator, a United States congressman and now chancellor. In presenting the award, Brose noted Fingerhut’s tireless advocacy for education in the vital fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine.

Besides Chancellor Fingerhut, the award also was given to David P. Blom, president and chief executive officer of Columbus-based OhioHealth. 

Since joining OhioHealth in 1983, Blom has held a succession of leadership positions, becoming president and chief executive officer of the system in 2002. Under his leadership, OhioHealth employs 15,000 health care workers and extends to 46 Ohio counties, including eight community-owned hospitals, nine affiliated hospitals, and numerous health care facilities.

The Convocation also featured the college’s White Coat Ceremony, in which the new medical students receive their short white coats. The coats, donated by the Ohio Osteopathic Foundation, symbolize the students’ entrance into the medical profession. They must be worn by the student doctors during clinical assignments. Upon graduation, students receive long white coats, which symbolize their official instatement as physicians. 

This year’s class tied the highest cumulative grade point average of any of the college’s previous 33 classes and the highest science GPA of 3.57.  Of the 120 members of the class – the largest in the history of the college – 81 percent are Ohio residents, 11 percent hail from Southeastern Ohio or Appalachian Ohio counties, and 33 percent are first-generation college students. The class is 53 percent female and 47 percent male, with minority students making up 28 percent.

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Last updated: 01/28/2016