LUCOM hosts first-ever awards banquet, celebrates inaugural class
Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) celebrated the achievements and recognized the success of the COM’s inaugural class of student-doctors during a formal Awards Banquet on Tuesday, May 15, in the Montview Student Union, Alumni Ballroom, on the campus of Liberty University.
“We spend so much time thinking about the future. But, when we do something significant we immediately redirect our focus to the next item on our agenda instead of celebrating our success whether big or small.” said LUCOM Dean Peter A Bell, DO, MBA, FACOEP-dist, FACEP. Dr. Bell encouraged the Class of 2018 to take the time to celebrate the success of graduating from medical school, to celebrate accomplishments as they participate in a residency, and throughout their lifetime as a physician.
In the midst of the commemoration, the celebration focused on God and His goodness as LUCOM graduates its inaugural class - 126 remarkable men and women - on Saturday, May 19. “A vision of ‘Training Physicians for Christ’ will be witnessed on Saturday,” said Timothy O. Leonard, MD, PhD, senior associate dean of Academic Affairs. “Liberty University founder Dr. Jerry Falwell, Sr.’s, vision will become a reality.”
Those same 126 student-doctors were all present for the banquet and spent the evening laughing and reliving memories from their past four years of medical school while reconnecting with LUCOM faculty and staff members. “The day we were applauded as we first took our seats at LUCOM, I didn’t know how to even imagine graduation week, but in four short days we will officially be doctors of osteopathic medicine,” said Lily Daniel, president of the Class of 2018. “The ending of medical school brings yet another beginning, as we will now embark on our individual journeys as physicians.”
In her address to the audience, Daniel applauded not only her peers, but also LUCOM faculty and staff. “They have spent countless hours preparing us, praying for us, teaching us, and I just don’t mean the science of medicine, but they have taught us the importance of humility, courage, compassion, and faith,” she said. “I know that my life has been infinitely blessed because of their roles in growing me into the physician I have and will become.”
Throughout the evening, LUCOM recognized student-doctors graduating with highest honors (top 3% of the class) and honors (top 10% of the class), graduate assistants, members of Omega Beta Iota, members of Sigma Sigma Phi, and student-doctors that had participated in international rotations with MAP International and Samaritan’s Purse. “Over the course of four years, the student-doctors have faced many new and exciting opportunities, but also many challenges. Challenges that are present when starting a new medical school,” said David. F. Klink, DO, senior associate dean of Clinical Affairs. “Through their dedication to excellence and a commitment to lifelong learning, they overcame those challenges, and we wanted to recognize those achievements tonight.”
After the recognitions, LUCOM then moved to the awards section of the program where they honored individual student achievements and their success. Before the first award was given, Dr. Bell recognized two special members of the LUCOM family, Dr. and Mrs. Ronnie Martin. “These two have literally been with LUCOM since the beginning,” said Dr. Bell. “They have seen, heard, and done it all through a never-ending commitment to the COM.” The Martins were presented with gifts from the LUCOM body as a whole.
Lydia Slater received the Academic and Clinical Excellence Award, which is presented for the demonstration of excellence to the student-doctor graduating with the highest overall combined scholastic and clinical achievement.
Jeffrey Collins, Alex Hamilton, Shannon Hamilton, Kaleigh Kenny, Anya-Faye Pacleb, Marla Petriello, Sally Smith, and Steven Webster received medals for their participation in the LUCOM Ambassador Program for four years. The Ambassador Program is designed to enhance student-doctors as leaders while they serve as representatives of Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine.
David Winston and Anya-Faye Pacleb received the Student Service Leadership Award, which is presented to the member(s) of the graduating class who, by personal and professional conduct, exhibited through their actions, have exemplified cohesiveness, unity, and esprit de corps within their class during the four years of their osteopathic medical education.
Matthew Hadfield received the Biomedical Research Award, which is presented to the student, who in the opinion of the faculty, demonstrated the greatest dedication to scholarly activity, academic achievement, promotion of research and scientific methods, and the advancement of medical knowledge during their career as a student at LUCOM.
Zach Jensen received the Michael D. Lockwood Award, named after LUCOM professor of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine, Michael D. Lockwood, DO, FCA. The award is presented to the student who demonstrated the highest levels of osteopathic integration and proficiency over the course of their medical education, while also demonstrating commitment and promise in the leadership, professionalism, and integrity to carry forward the banner of the profession.
Alex Hamilton received the Clinical Service Award, which is presented to the student judged to be outstanding in clinical service by a vote of the clinical faculty based on evaluations, performance on boards, end of-rotation examinations, and comments from preceptors and faculty.
Brandi Jensen received the Donna Jones Moritsugu Memorial Award, which is presented to the spouse or significant other of a COM student who demonstrated support needed by a medical student as well as leadership to advance the osteopathic profession.
As the evening came to a close, Dr. Bell reaffirmed the Class of 2018 that they are loved, prayed for and will always be welcome back to with LUCOM open arms.
View images from the event at Facebook.com/LibertyMedicine.