Governor delivers keynote speech at WVSOM graduation, receives honorary degree

A student’s four-year commitment to medical school can be a rigorous one.  In that period of time medical students immerse themselves in lectures that educate them about different body systems, they learn to communicate effectively with others through team-based learning group exercises, they work in hospitals and clinics throughout the country under the guidance of physician mentors, and above all they study for countless hours.

All that dedication eventually pays off the moment medical students receive their Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degrees. This year, 189 participating graduates in the Class of 2018 received their medical degrees from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) at the school’s 41st annual commencement ceremony that took place on May 26.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice delivered the keynote speech to graduates, their families and friends, and WVSOM faculty and guests at the school’s campus in Lewisburg.

He acknowledged that the medical students were an elite group of graduates, but life’s journey is long and there is always room to be better.

“I would tell you that this life is now going to take you on a journey,” he told the graduates. “What do you have to do in life to get better? I would bet you would say study harder, or be more focused, be more determined, communicate better or try harder, but I would tell you just this. If you want to get better in this life the first thing you need to do is admit you’re doing something wrong. It’s the foundation of everything around us. We often times forget that.”

Justice said that after medical school there may be times when life will be tough, but being a graduate of WVSOM will have great rewards.

“You graduates have been prepared by these great people and this great institution,” he said. “You may go off for awhile, but we want you back right here in West Virginia. We are really truly moving, and now this state is going to provide you with opportunities. Go on your way in life and do greatness, but you’ve got to come back, because I’m taking names.”

After his speech, Justice was bestowed an honorary degree in recognition for his invaluable contributions, strong support and generosity to WVSOM, the community and the state. “See I got my degree before you guys,” the governor joked.

Class of 2018 President Lauren Wackerman then provided a speech to her classmates during the Class Address. She acknowledged how her classmates were selfless in choosing to give up their “golden years” when many others are establishing careers, building homes and families and traveling the world.

“Nearly four years ago, this same group of individuals sat under this same tent waiting for their white coat,” she said in part of her speech, stating the class was not the same group of people. “Some time in the past four years we matured from scared student doctors pulling all nighters to sympathetic, competent physicians eager to walk across the stage today.”

She encouraged her classmates to remember the late Austin Lutz, a former classmate who valued humanity. “Remember to always strive for empathy and compassion,” she shared.

This was Michael Adelman’s, D.O., D.P.M., J.D., last commencement ceremony as WVSOM’s president. Moments before the graduates were conferred their degrees he shared how proud he was of the class.

“You are about to become graduates of one of the finest schools in the country. I’m proud of what you and what those who have come before you have accomplished,” he said. “Remember quality, excellence, commitment and caring — that’s what makes an excellent osteopathic physician.”

Adelman 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 Robert Holstein, D.O.; WVSOM Alumni Association President Robert Olexo, D.O.; and the President of the West Virginia Osteopathic Medicine Association Arthur Rubin, D.O.; provided brief messages to guests.

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

Date Added: 
Friday, June 1, 2018