Rocky Vista University Hosts Mini-Commencement Ceremony for Inaugural Class of 2021

June 4, 2021
Rocky Vista University News Room

Rocky Vista University Hosts Mini-Commencement Ceremony for Inaugural Class of 2021

[June 4, 2021 – Ivins, UT] On Saturday, May 15, Rocky Vista University (RVU) celebrated the graduation of its inaugural class from the College of Osteopathic Medicine, with 99 medical students receiving their Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degrees, and its inaugural class from the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences program, with 14 graduate students receiving their Master of Sciences (MS) degrees.

RVU hosted the small-scale commencement ceremony for students and their guests in the University’s auditoriums with masks and distanced seating arrangements. Faculty and staff attended the ceremony via telepresence and then joined the graduates outside for personal congratulations and pictures. For those who could not join in-person or via Zoom, a pre-recorded video was distributed for them to share with friends and loved ones.

The keynote address was delivered by John Peabody, MD, PhD, RVU Board of Trustees Member and Founder and President of QURE Healthcare. He is an international healthcare leader in health policy, health economics, and quality of clinical care, and he developed the globally adopted standard for measuring clinical practice variation, known as CPV® vignettes. Currently, he serves as senior advisor to Autism Speaks, regularly advises the World Bank, the Gates Foundation and the World Health Organization, and has faculty appointments in the departments of medicine, epidemiology and biostatistics, and health services at the University of California, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

In his address, Dr. Peabody spoke about the importance of optimism and how science and the graduates’ future patients will be key to their personal success. As Class of 2021 enters the healthcare workforce, they will face many challenges, Dr. Peabody explained, including the shortage of physicians in the United States. Currently, for every one doctor there are 330 patients in need of healthcare services. But there is room for optimism, Dr. Peabody noted. “You are now both the engine and the spirit that will fuel improvements that are underway.” He also advised the graduates to “practice evidence-based medicine and have compassion for your patients…From this privileged position and in times of great necessity and urgency, remember history and remember your patients.”

The most anticipated moment of the ceremony was the hooding of the medical school graduates on stage, a rite of passage marking the student’s designation as a holder of a doctorate or graduate degree. Graduates who were in attendance walked across the stage as their name was announced to be “hooded” by Heather Ferrill, DO, MS, MEdL, Dean. After the tassel ceremony and closing remarks, attendees had the option to view the full, pre-recorded commencement ceremony video.

A Commissioning Ceremony was held to recognize the ranking of 19 graduates from the Military Medicine Track, one of RVU’s specialty programs. RVU has among the highest percentage of students attending on a military scholarship of all civilian medical schools in the nation. This ceremony was conducted by Anthony J. LaPorta, MD, FACS, Director of the Military Medicine Program and Professor of Clinical Surgery.

Dr. LaPorta retired from the US Army as a Colonel after over 26 years of service. In addition to his duties at RVU, Dr. LaPorta has served as Course ATLS Instructor with the Armed Forces Combat Casualty Care for the past 33 years. He has authored over 200 peer-reviewed articles and presentations on surgery, immunology, military medicine, and simulation and given dozens of presentations. Over the course of his career, Dr. LaPorta has been awarded the Order of Military Medical Merit, the Andrew C. Ruoff III Award for Outstanding Field Medical Surgeon, the Army Achievement Medal (One Oak Leaf Cluster), the Army Commendation Medal (One Oak Leaf Cluster), the Army Meritorious Service

50.4% of RVUCOM’s graduates are entering primary care residency programs. Graduates were also matched into excellent specialty programs such as anesthesiology, neuromuscular medicine, radiation oncology, dermatology, and more.

78% of the MSBS graduating class has been accepted into professional programs, and 39 graduates from the combined Colorado and Southern Utah classes were accepted to RVUCOM.

About Rocky Vista University (RVU)

RVU is a health-sciences university based in Parker, Colorado and Ivins, Utah. RVU was founded in 2006 and opened its doors in August of 2008, enrolling students in its four-year program of study leading to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree in the University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (RVUCOM). The Ivins Campus matriculated its first class in 2017. RVU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a commission of the North Central Association. RVUCOM is accredited by the Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA). RVU has also added a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences (MSBS) degree program and a Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS) to its Colorado location. Rocky Vista University provides quality healthcare education while inspiring students to serve with compassion, integrity and excellence. For more information, visit

About Osteopathic Medicine

Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DOs) are fully licensed physicians who practice in all areas of medicine and have the same rights and privileges of a MD.  DOs emphasize a whole-person approach to treatment and are trained to listen and partner with their patients.  In addition to a traditional medical school curriculum, DOs receive training in the musculoskeletal system.  By combining this knowledge with the latest advances in medical technology, DOs offer their patients the most comprehensive care available in medicine.  Osteopathic medicine is one of the fastest growing segments in health-care with one in every four medical students in the nation enrolled in a college of osteopathic medicine. 


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