U.S. Senator speaks at WVSOM graduation

The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) celebrated its 38th annual commencement ceremony with a keynote speech by U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito. Capito addressed 193 participating graduates in the Class of 2015 on May 30 at WVSOM's campus in Lewisburg. The graduation ceremony is a result of four years of hard work in both the classrooms and clinical settings — all culminating for graduates to receive their Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degrees.

Capito imparted words of wisdom on students before they officially became physicians. The words she conveyed were those about the importance of community and the pursuit of individual happiness.

"You're incredibly lucky to be a part of the medical community at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. It is much deeper and stronger than you know," she told the graduates and their families.

She shared how West Virginia is similar to "one big small town." Watching individuals grow up and supporting them as they later accomplish their goals is what living in a small community of West Virginia is like, Capito explained.

"We care for one another, we're interested in one another's families and we know each other's names," she said. "The community that you have built here during your time in medical school is no different. The academic and practical training that you have received — whether treating patients at the Robert C. Byrd Clinic, in the Statewide Campus, or benefitting from the curriculum — goes hand in hand and has prepared you well to be a dedicated doctor."

Capito said that during her 14 years in Senate she has learned the importance of doing what makes her truly happy — a sentiment she hopes the graduates take with them long after they leave WVSOM.

"Each of you will define happiness differently, but my message to you is don't define your happiness as a goal. While your goals should contribute to your happiness, they should not define them."

The senator shared her personal story about being a pre-med student at Duke University, where she eventually majored in zoology. She realized the medical profession wasn't something she wanted to pursue, but stated that the path one takes doesn't always follow a straight line.

She shared this story to convey her admiration for what medical students are able to accomplish. But her zoology degree wasn't a complete waste when she entered politics. "Nevertheless, my zoology major has served me well, because after all, it has made me be able to work in the biggest zoo in America and that's Washington, D.C.," she joked.

"Enjoy the journey now that you've graduated," Capito concluded. "Don't always be fixated on the destination and be happy in your pursuit. The ride is what you'll remember. And this community will be with you the entire way."

Michael Adelman, D.O., D.P.M., J.D., president and Craig Boisvert, D.O., FACOFP, vice president for academic affairs and dean, led the ceremony and awarded the degrees. The WVSOM Board of Governors vice chair Cheryl Shreiber; WVSOM Alumni Association President Mark Waddell, D.O.; and the president of the West Virginia Osteopathic Medicine Association Art Rubin, D.O.; provided messages to guests.

The ceremony concluded with the graduates reciting the osteopathic oath, which officially acknowledges their transition from student to physician.