Student Spotlight

Valerie Martin, OMS I

Class of 2021

  • Hometown: Plymouth, UT
  • Undergraduate Studies: Biology with a minor in Chemistry (University of Utah)
  • Clubs and Activities:

Why did you choose RVU? I was raised on a farm in a small town where we had limited access to healthcare. RVUCOM places great emphasis...
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Faculty Spotlight

Jacquelyn Waller, PharmD, BCPS

Assistant Professor of Pharmacology, Director of Faculty Development

  • Hometown: Craig, CO
  • Graduate Studies: Doctor of Pharmacy (University of Montana); Postgraduate Pharmacy Residency (Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children's Hospital)

What class do you teach? Pharmacology in both the College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) and Master of Science in...
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The long-awaited day of acknowledgment has arrived.  Your perseverance, professionalism, and commitment to lifelong learning will be celebrated with family, friends, mentors, and faculty. This Commencement exercise is like none other you’ve celebrated.

Your preparation by trials of academic rigor, being forced out of your comfort zone, and the outstanding role-modeling of the faculty (both in the field and at RVU) have prepared you to succeed in the next step toward the independent practice of medicine. Residency training will continue to test your preparation, commitment, and passion. The residency experience will provide the opportunity for you to use your team-building skills, communication expertise, and collection of knowledge to ensure the challenges of your generation of healthcare providers will meet the uncharted course of the changes you will face in the next millennium.

Your future is secure but your responsibility is unending. Please reflect on the passion you brought to your commitment to study medicine, your desire to make a difference and to care for those in physical and/or emotional distress. The belief in the osteopathic philosophy, the DO Touch, makes you very special and unique in the healthcare provider spectrum.

RVU remains your home of record.  Please carry our mission, values, and belief in your success to the all those you touch. Be a proud alum and keep us informed of your success, struggles, and needs. We will always be here for you.

Godspeed and blessings,



Please join us to celebrate one last night together
before we all go on to great things!


Thursday, May 17th
7:00 pm – 11:00 pm


Each graduate will receive two free tickets
to the event.
(One for the graduate and one for a guest)


 Punch Bowl Social Denver
65 Broadway
Denver, CO 80203




 Unlimited craft beer, wine, and house liquor


 Unlimited activities
Bowling (bring socks!), arcade games, billiards, ping pong, karaoke, dancing, a photo booth, and more!


 Unlimited appetizers, dinner, and dessert


Carpooling, Uber, Lyft, or a taxi is encouraged, as parking will be limited.




 If you want to bring more than one guest:


1. Additional tickets can be purchased for $60 each
(Tickets include unlimited alcohol, food, and activities)


2. Graduates must mention all additional guests in the survey they will fill out


3. Tickets must be picked up with regalia


Keynote Speaker:

Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH


Stephen C. Shannon, DO, MPH, has been President of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) since January 2006. Prior to assuming this position, he served as Vice President for Health Services and Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at the University of New England since 1995. He served as Chair of the AACOM Board of Deans from July 2003 to June 2005.

Dr. Shannon earned his doctor of osteopathic medicine degree in 1986 from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in Biddeford, Maine, and his master of public health degree in 1990 from the Harvard University School of Public Health. He is board certified in osteopathic family practice and preventive medicine. He also holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in American history from the University of Maryland.

As President of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Shannon serves as spokesperson on behalf of the nation’s 33 colleges of osteopathic medicine, articulating the community’s priorities and positions in a variety of national and international settings. Dr. Shannon also guides the Association in fulfilling its vision and mission, and in positively influencing state, federal, and executive branch policy formulation relative to medical education.

Dr. Shannon has strong professional interests in public health and preventive medicine, and in major research areas of clinical outcomes study, health promotion and disease prevention, health professions workforce, rural health, and medical school curriculum. He is the current President of the Federation of Schools of the Health Professions and a member of the Veterans Administration’s National Academic Affiliations Council. Until recently, he served as a senior member of HRSA’s Advisory Committee on Training in Primary Care Medicine and Dentistry.

Dr. Shannon has a long history of leadership and service in public health. He was instrumental in the development of the Master of Public Health program at the University of New England, and prior to his appointment as dean was the Director of Occupational and Environmental Health at the Maine Bureau of Health. He has served on numerous public health boards and commissions and is a founder and past chair of the Board of the Maine Center for Public Health.

In addition, Dr. Shannon is past president of the Maine Biomedical Research Coalition and was a member of the state’s Biomedical Research Board. He was instrumental in implementing biomedical research expansion within the University of New England, targeting such areas as the impact of diabetes on heart disease and the neurophysiology of pain, memory, and addiction.

He has received many awards, most recently, the 2016 Phillips Medal of Public Service given by the Ohio Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and the 2016 Dale Dodson Award for leadership. In 2013 he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Maine Osteopathic Association; the New York Institute of Technology Riland Public Service Award in 2011. In 2010 he received both the AACOM Robert A. Kistner Award and the Pioneer in Osteopathic Medicine Award from the University of New England; in 2003 the Dan Hanley Memorial Trust Leadership Award; and the Finance Authority of Maine’s Distinguished Service Award in the Field of Higher Education in 2002.

Commissioning Officer:

General James P. McCarthy


General McCarthy is a retired United States Air Force general. his last assignment before retirement was as Deputy Commander in Chief of the United States European Command. In retirement, he has served on a number of corporate and government advisory boards, as well as serving as the ARDI Professor of National Security at the United States Air Force Academy.

Upon graduation from Kent State University, General McCarthy commissioned through the Reserve Officer Training Corps program, then completed pilot training and later, Squadron Officer School. In 1964, he was assigned to the Air Force Academy in Colorado as an air officer commanding. In 1967, he was assigned as a pilot and operations officer at the Yokota Air Base in Japan. His squadron deployed to South Korea several times during his years there.

In 1970, he transferred to the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing at Da Nang Air Base in the Republic of Vietnam, where he served as chief of the Operations Plans Division and, later, commander of the 4th Tactical Fighter Squadron. Following his return to the United States, General McCarthy was assigned to the Office of the Director of Programs in Washington, DC. In 1974, he graduated from the National War College and became the vice commandant of cadets at the Air Force Academy. In the same year, he received a master of science degree in international affairs from George Washington University.

In 1977, he transferred to the 97th Bombardment Wing at Blytheville Air Force Base in Arkansas, where he served as vice commander, then commander. In 1979, he became commander of the 93rd Bombardment Wing at Castle Air Force Base in California. The following year, he returned to the Air Force headquarters to serve as special assistant for M-X matters at the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Research, Development, and Acquisition. Several years later, he became the director of legislative liaison at the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force.

In 1984, he accepted the role of deputy chief of staff for plans, developing policies, programs, and requirements for the command at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. He assumed command of 8th Air Force at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana in 1987, then as deputy chief of staff for programs and resources at the Air Force headquarters. He assumed his final position before retirement as commander of the United States European Command in 1989. He retired in 1992.

General McCarthy is the recipient of many awards including Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with seven oak leaf clusters, Presidential Unit Citation, Combat Readiness Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with four service stars, Air Force Longevity Service Award Ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross, and more.

During the commencement ceremony, graduates receiving a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree will be hooded on stage. A guest hooder of your choosing may hood you with your doctoral colors. You may select ONE immediate family member (parent, grandparent, spouse, sibling, or child) or an important mentor.

Please keep in mind that your guest hooder will sit with the other hooders in a different section of the theater. 

To ensure the hooding process goes smoothly, here is an instructional video on how to properly hood a graduate.

Be sure to send the link to your guest hooder no later than May 17, 2018.

Video: How to Properly Hood an RVU Graduate

Ellie Caulkins Opera House

Denver Center for the Performing Arts
950 13th Street
Denver, CO 80204
 (800) 641-1222

Local Hotels

Below is a Google map which displays various hotels located near the the Ellie Caulkins Opera House. RVUCOM does not guarantee room rates or availability at any of these hotels.

You’ve just spent four years with your classmates. Wouldn’t you like to stay in touch with them?

The RVU Alumni Association was established to provide the alumni of RVU with an active and united group, dedicated to the advancement of osteopathic medical education and related health sciences. Also, the RVU Alumni Association facilitates networking and mentoring among alumni, as well as throughout the community and industry contacts.

The RVU Alumni Association is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization which is separate from the university. The Association is governed by a Board of Trustees consisting of RVU Graduates. The Association raises funds to provide scholarships, Fellowship networking, and conference perks.

For your 3 years of residency, you will receive a special discounted rate of only $25 per year. Everyone is encouraged to pay for all 3 years prior to graduation. After the 3 years, dues will increase to $50 per year. You can also become a Lifetime Member for $1000 and receive special recognition, a certificate, a pin, and recognition in the Vista View and the RVU and RVU Alumni Facebook pages.

So, what are the next steps?


1.   Pay your alumni dues by clicking the link below:

Alumni Association Dues

2. Like the RVU Alumni Association page on Facebook:
RVU Alumni Association

To order merchandise for yourself or for your graduate, contact

Q: What is the guest hooder policy?
A: DO students may select ONE immediate family member (parent, grandparent, spouse, sibling, or child) or an important mentor. The person you choose does not need to have a terminal degree. MSBS students will be hooded by their program director and will not need to select a guest hooder.

Q: What if I do not have a guest hooder?
A: If you do not have a guest hooder, you will be hooded by the faculty member chosen by the class.

Q: When is the last date that I can register my guest hooder?
A: You will have until March 1st to select your hooder. If you selected a guest hooder and need to change at the last minute, you can, but you will not be allowed to add a hooder after this date – NO EXCEPTIONS!

Q: Does my hooder need to wear regalia?
A: If your guest hooder owns regalia, they may wear it. If they do not, graduation appropriate attire is fine. Please no jeans, shorts, or flip flops.

Q: Will my guest hooder be able to sit with the rest of my family?
A: No. The person you choose will sit with the other hooders in a different section of the theater.

Q: Will military students be hooded in military uniforms?
A: No. Military uniforms will be worn underneath regalia. After you are hooded, you will the remove your regalia backstage before the military commissioning ceremony.

Q: How can my family get up-to-date Commencement information?
A: Please refer them to the RVU website.

Q: How long is the ceremony expected to last?
A: The ceremony will last approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Q: Can we invite our families to the awards ceremony on campus on Friday, May 18th?
A: Unfortunately, because of limited space, families will not be invited.

Q: Is the Commencement ceremony mandatory?
A: Yes. The Commencement ceremony is mandatory and is required in order to receive your diploma.

Q: Is graduation week mandatory?
A: Yes. Graduation week is mandatory.

Q: What is the difference between Commencement and graduation?
A: Commencement is the ceremony we celebrate your accomplishments as you end your student life and begin your life as a member of the Rocky Vista University’s Alumni Association. Graduation is the act of completing all graduation requirements (e.g., ordering your cap and gown, ordering your graduation announcements).

Q: Is there a rehearsal for the Commencement Ceremony?
A: Yes, the military rehearsal will take place on Friday, May 18th from 9:30-10:00am. The rehearsal for the DO and MSBS graduates will take place directly following the military rehearsal.

Q: Will my family be able to take pictures of me as I cross the stage?
A:  No. Family members will not be allowed close enough to the stage to take photos of you. However, a professional photographer will take a picture of each candidate as he or she receives the degree. You will receive information during your individual photos regarding the option of purchasing photos.

Q: I’m graduating with honors. How do I get my honors cords?
A:  Students who qualify for recognition at the ceremony will be given their honors cords when they pick up their regalia.

Q: When and where is the Regalia Pick-Up?
A: Regalia pick-up is from 8:00-9:00am on Thursday, May 17th in the hallway on the first floor.

Q: How do I order announcements?
A: On the graduation portal, you will find information about ordering announcements through CB Graduation. You are also welcome to order from any company you choose.

Q: Does my family need tickets to attend graduation? Does it cost?
A: No. Seating is on a first-come-first-served basis and it is free. There is no limit as to how many guests students may invite.

Q: What if someone in my family requires disability accommodations?
A: Please contact Erica Whatley at if one of your guests requires an accommodation for the 2018 Commencement Ceremony. Please also state the nature of the accommodation (e.g. accessible seating).

Q: When should I arrive at the venue with my family? I want them to have a good seat.
A: The ceremony will begin right on time. Students should arrive 90 minutes before the ceremony. The theater doors will open promptly at 4:00pm and we recommend guests arrive no later than an hour before the start of the ceremony. All seating is first come, first served.

Q: Where do I park? Does it cost anything?
A: The Denver Performing Arts Center parking garage is located on Arapahoe and 13th Street and will cost $10.00.

Q: When will I receive my diploma?
A: You will receive your Diploma when you return your regalia (gown only) to the Studio Loft where you initially assembled.

Q: I want to order a diploma frame. What are the dimensions of the diploma?
A: For students in the DO Program, the correct size of diploma frames is 14” x 11” and for students in the MSBS Program, the correct size is 11” x 8.5”.

For Questions Regarding:


  • General Graduation Information
    Erica Whatley, Assistant Director of Special Events and External Relations
    (720) 874-2407


  • Alumni Services or Information
    Julie Rosenthal, Executive Director of Enrollment Management and External Relations
    (720) 875-2804


  • Graduation Announcements
    CB Grad
    (800) 433-0296


  • Diplomas
    Ashley Moran, Registrar
    (720) 874-2455


  • Merchandise and Orders
    Gina Marzulla, Marketing Coordinator
    (720) 874-2467