At the Ellie Caulkins Opera House and before thousands of guests, RVU celebrated the graduation of 176 students. This was the seventh graduating class of RVUCOM students and the second graduating class of MSBS students.
Following a rendition of the National Anthem by graduate Monica Mills, the ceremony began with an invocation by Very Reverend Archimandrite Christopoulos G. Papadeas. Next, Clinton E. Adams, DO, FACHE, President and CEO, welcomed the audience and graduates, then introduced the platform party, which included members of the Board of Trustees, the leadership team, and special guest speakers. Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH, President of the American Osteopathic Association,presented the keynote address to the gathered students. “I believe that the future of medicine is sitting before me today and that future is brighter for the unique outlook each of you will bring to your patients, your colleagues, and your communities,” he said.
Following the keynote, Francina Towne, PhD, Program Director for the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program, spoke to the twenty-six graduates. “This chapter is closing, but it’s not the end of your story,” she said. The graduates filed on stage where they were hooded by faculty members and given their diplomas.
On the heels of the MSBS students, the graduates of RVUCOM began taking the stage one at a time, alongside a loved one or mentor who performed the traditional doctoral hooding for them. Once all graduates were hooded, Alumni Association President, AJ Ryan, DO ’14, took the stage to offer advice to the students as they begin their residencies. He then led the graduates in reciting the Osteopathic Oath.
While the ceremony was a time of celebrating, it was also a time to honor the dedicated faculty that made this graduation possible. Dr. Adams bestowed the Presidential Award of Excellence upon two deserving professors: Walter Buck, PhD, Chair of Structural Medicine, and the late Michael Martin, PhD, Associate Dean for Integrated Curriculum, who passed away shortly after Commencement. Both members of the inaugural faculty at RVU, Drs. Buck and Martin were crucial to the success of RVU in their own ways. Dr. Buck helped design and establish both the Anatomy Lab and the structural medicine curriculum. “He holds both his students and his faculty to a high standard, ensuring the continued excellence of a difficult curriculum—yet doing so with compassion and patience,” said Dr. Adams. For Dr. Martin, it was his integrity, wisdom, and development of RVU’s Integrated Systems-Based Curriculum that led to his nomination. “He is an educator who leads by example and garners the admiration and respect of both faculty and administration,” said Dr. Adams. Dr. Martin’s wife, Dr. Charlie Lippolis, accepted the award on his behalf.
The final segment of the ceremony was dedicated to the commissioning of graduates who were to become officers in various branches of the military. The commissioning was led by General James P. McCarthy (retired), who offered words of wisdom to the graduates earlier in the week.