Making History

June 8, 2018

Medical school sends forth Liberty’s first doctors

On May 19, 126 student-doctors made history as they became Liberty University’s first class of osteopathic physicians.

For the graduates of Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM), it was a day four years in the making. For Liberty, it was a longtime vision that became reality.

In 2012, a groundbreaking ceremony marked the first steps in building the Center for Medical and Health Sciences. Thanks to a $20.5 million grant from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission, the 144,000-square-foot, four-story facility was completed in 2014 to train medical professionals who would go on to serve underprivileged areas in southside Virginia.

Dr. Ben Carson, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, gives the keynote address.

“Class of 2018, you were chosen to attend LUCOM based on your character, capacity, and motivation, and it was truly a divine appointment that guided you to attend this medical school,” said Dr. Peter Bell, LUCOM dean, in his opening remarks at the college’s hooding ceremony. “I have seen you demonstrate your passion for medicine with a servant’s heart. … I marvel at your accomplishments as student-doctors and soon-to-be colleagues in the high calling of osteopathic medicine.”

According to Bell, two-thirds of the class will begin primary care residencies. The rest will enter several different specialties, including internal medicine, pediatrics, emergency medicine, neurology, and obstetrics and gynecology. Many will work in hospitals in underserved areas and communities across the country, and some will enter the medical mission field.

Bell also celebrated the recent news that LUCOM was granted accreditation by the American Osteopathic Association Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation.
U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson gave the keynote address, sharing personal stories of how God has guided him in his dynamic career.
Hearing from Carson was an honor, said LUCOM graduate Craig Mitcham.

“It speaks volumes for the influence Liberty has,” he said. “He’s a person of great character. He has accomplished so much in his personal life, whether it’s his medical accomplishments or how he was able to overcome adversity.”

During the ceremony, Liberty President Jerry Falwell congratulated the inaugural class on the way they have already shown God’s love
to others.

“Part of LUCOM’s mission is preparing students to have a servant’s heart and to be competent and passionate in the workforce,” he said. “We have accomplished that. I hear reports from physicians all over the community on how delighted they were to have worked with you, how your compassion for others is evident in what you do.”He told them that their extra efforts beyond their classes were obvious.

“Whether it was conducting a community clinic just down the road in Danville, or tending to medical needs in Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, or the Dominican Republic, you stayed on mission as true public servants.”

LUCOM’s founding dean, Dr. Ronnie Martin, thanked the students for “establishing a legacy” for those students and classes that will follow, “creating a culture for the college that will light the pathway for others.”

“You are all pioneers, explorers, and leaders for many reasons, not merely because you are the first class,” he said.

Martin encouraged them as physicians to always follow the ultimate role model ­­— Jesus Christ.

The Next Step: Residency training

The members of the first graduating class from Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine are heading to postgraduation residency training at teaching hospitals all across the country. To receive their placements, students participated in medical school match programs through the National Resident Matching Program, the American Osteopathic Association, the American Urological Association, the San Francisco Match, or the Military Match (Navy, Air Force, Army). Graduates will be entering all fields of medicine, with a majority going into primary care specialties.


Internal Medicine: 33

Family Medicine: 30

Emergency Medicine: 11

Obstetrics – Gynecology: 8

Traditional Rotating Internship: 8

General Surgery: 7

Pediatrics: 7

Psychiatry: 4

Medicine – Pediatrics: 3

Physical Medicine & Rehab: 3

Surgery – Preliminary: 1

Neurology: 1

Neurological Surgery: 1

Anesthesiology: 1

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