A long-awaited day of celebration for Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) was held last Friday, May 16, as the college hosted an internal ceremony of prayer and dedication for the new Center for Medical and Health Sciences. Invited members of Liberty’s executive leadership such as Dr. Ronald Godwin, Provost, and Dr. Ronald E. Hawkins, Vice Provost, were present, along with the founding faculty and staff of the COM, and the faculty of the School of Health Sciences’ Master of Public Health (MPH) program. Staff of Liberty’s Information Technology crew, along with personnel from English Construction Company and Moore’s Electric, was also present.
Opening the ceremony with prayer over the incoming student-physicians and the vision of the COM was Dr. James W. Kribs, Department Chair and Associate Professor of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM)/Osteopathic Principles and Practices (OPP). The prayer was immediately followed by a beautiful cooperate song selection of Carl Boberg’s “How Great Thou Art”, lead by Dr. Wayne Kompelien, Professor of Music and Director of Opera Workshop for Liberty’s School of Music.
The main keynote speaker was
Dr. Ronald Godwin. Expressing his affirm-
ation and appreciation for the leadership
of Dr. Martin, he went on to say:
“I consider Dr. Martin to be a true blessing
to this institution. In every affiliation and accreditation discussion I have found there
was one commonality: Dr. Martin is a man
to get things done. He has brought together quality faculty and staff that have committed themselves to God’s vision of Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine. The missions starts here in Lynchburg, but it’s effect will be global.”
Following Dr. Godwin’s remarks, Dr. Ralph F. Linstra, Dean of the School of Health Sciences and Professor of Health Professions, offered his excitement in joining the COM to advance the Master of Public Health program. “Our desire is to educate and train men and women with a Christian worldview to make a tremendous impact. Our program has established government internships for our students in DC with the hopes they will have influences on setting policies for health and the well being of our nation.”
Dr. Linstra reminisced a conversation he had with Dr. Falwell, Sr., in the developing stages of Liberty University. He stated “Coming out of a meeting one day, Dr. Falwell told me, ‘One day we will have a medical school on this mountain’. I looked at him and chuckled, and then he gave me a light punch in the stomach saying, ‘Don’t you laugh! Just wait and see.’ It amazes me how much of a visionary he was, and to see how the Lord has answered our prayers to worship Him through this great opportunity.”
Dr. Ronnie Martin, Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Professor of Family Medicine, concluded the speakers of the ceremony with the acknowledgment that the new building is just a hollow shell without those who have dedicated themselves to the vision.
“Each of you [faculty and staff] possesses unique assets that will enable us to improve the lives and future of others. Together we meet our mission and vision for the future of this university and college, our profession, and our faith. Our new resources, combined with unparalleled talent and our hearts commitment in service to others, will inevitably improve the lives of those we have chosen to serve,” said Dr. Martin. “The strength of this institution lies not in density of its concrete and steel, but in the solidity and the commitment of the hearts, minds, and hands of those who occupy this structure.”
Amongst those Dr. Martin mentioned; he took time to acknowledge Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr., and the university’s Board of Trustees for their guidance and support, the architects at Wiley Wilson, and the craftsmen at English Construction Company, along with the generous contribution of the
Tobacco Commission of Virginia.
“They have faith, as do we, that the medical education provided by Liberty University
will make a difference in the lives of citizens throughout Southern and Central Virginia.
Not just a difference, but improvements in
their health, economics, and standard
of living,” stated Dr. Martin.
Praising Dr. Godwin and Dr. Hawkins for their unfaltering support, Dr. Martin also said, “It is through our leadership and their efforts that we have the facilities, resources, and capacity to support this new program. The challenges before us will only amplify our creative, innovative, and productive endeavors.”
LUCOM will officially open its door to the inaugural class on Wednesday, July 30, with classes commencing Monday, August 4.
“We will have the opportunity to witness the fruits of our efforts in advancing the skills, knowledge, and practice of the physicians and health care professionals trained in this building,” added Dr. Martin. “The results in improvements within the healthcare systems of our country, the health and wellness of our fellow man, the advancement of medical knowledge, the quality of life in our community and the individual lives of the multitude of patients, will be touched by that of our graduates.”
With the completion of the Center for Medical and Health Sciences and the expected arrival of the inaugural class, Dr. Jerry Falwell, Sr.’s vision to build a world-class university that will “Train Champions for Christ” to impact the world in all professions is coming to fruition.
Pictured top of page, left to right:
Dr. Ronald Godwin, Dr. Ronnie Martin, and Dr. Ronald E. Hawkins