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OU-COM welcomes newest class of medical students

New students hold best combined
GPAs in college history

One hundred and twenty aspiring physicians and surgeons will be officially welcomed and given short white coats during the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-COM) Convocation ceremony Aug. 14, 2 p.m., at Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium.

Selected from 3,690 applicants, the students in the Class of 2014
began orientation and anatomy classes last month at OU-COM.

This year marks the 35th year for this ceremony, where students will be welcomed into the medical profession by leaders in the osteopathic medical community, the college and Ohio University, and where they receive a short, white coat, which identifies them as medical students. They are required to wear the coat when they are accompanying physicians in a clinical setting. 

The Class of 2014, which tied with last year’s class for the college’s largest class ever, set its own record with the highest grade point averages in OU-COM history, said John Schriner, Ph.D., director of admissions. The combined GPA of the class is 3.67, with a combined 3.73 GPA in non-science classes and a 3.61 GPA in science, he said.

More than 27 percent of the class members are the first in their family to attend college, and 15 percent hail from Appalachian counties in Ohio. A total of 84 percent are from Ohio, Schriner said. Minority students make up 26 percent of the class, and 58 percent are women, he added. 

“The Class of 2014 is truly an outstanding group of students. There are many great attributes of the class,” Schriner said. “Most important is the fact that they are a great bunch of people that have a passion for learning and the aspiration to serve society.” 

Another highlight of the event is the presentation of the Phillips Medals of Public Service, the college’s highest honor given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to health care, education and/or public service. 

This year’s three recipients all have significant ties to Ohio University.

Delivering the keynote address, besides receiving a Phillips Medal of Public Service, is John Kopchick, Ph.D., Goll-Ohio Eminent Scholar and OU-COM professor of molecular and cellular biology. 

In 1989, Kopchick and his research team were the first to discover and characterize the molecular aspects of growth hormone antagonists, an accomplishment for which he and Ohio University were awarded several U.S. and European patents. The discovery became the basis for the drug Somavert®, a treatment for people with acromegaly, a growth hormone disorder that can cause excessive growth of organs and bones in adults and can lead to premature death. Royalty income from a license to the Pfizer Corporation to produce the drug makes up most of the licensing revenue received by Ohio University -- $5.8 million in fiscal year 2008.

The second recipient is David R. Scholl, Ph.D., who received his doctorate from Ohio University in 1981.  As a graduate student, he played a key laboratory support role in the development of the landmark bio-engineering project that produced the world’s first transgenic animal using the technique known as pronuclear injection. 

In 1983, Scholl joined Diagnostic Hybrids, Inc., of Athens, as director of research. Originally a start-up company based on Ohio University faculty research, Diagnostic Hybrids now is a market leader in the development and distribution of cellular and molecular diagnostic kits for detecting a wide range of medical conditions. The company employs about 220 people in Athens. In 1995, Scholl became president and CEO.

The final Phillips Medal will be awarded to John Haseley, J.D., who grew up in Athens and graduated from Ohio University with honors in political science. His career includes working for former Governor Richard F. Celeste and Senator John Glenn and as a law clerk for U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Guy Cole in Columbus. From 1998 to 2005, he served as Congressman Ted Strickland’s chief of staff. Until recently, Haseley served in the same role when Strickland became governor four years ago.

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