[May 25, 2022 – Ivins, UT] On Saturday, May 14, Rocky Vista University - Southern Utah (RVU-SU) celebrated the graduation of 122 students from its College of Osteopathic Medicine (RVUCOM) program, as well as 30 students from its Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences (MSBS) program. The ceremony, which took place at the Dixie Convention Center in St. George, Utah, began with the Posting of the Colors followed by the National Anthem, performed by Timothy Light, a second-year medical student.
The commencement ceremonies for each program marked the first in-person ceremony for graduates since 2019. The RVUCOM ceremony started with a welcome address from RVU President, CEO, and Provost David A. Forstein, DO. The keynote address was delivered by Lincoln Nadauld, MD, PhD, Chief Academic Officer of Intermountain Healthcare. Dr. Nadauld’s address emphasized the importance of the doctor-patient relationship: “You have one of the [most] unique opportunities in all of the world: the opportunity to practice medicine,” he said, addressing the graduates. “[A]s physicians, you are going to have an opportunity to do something that no one else in society gets to do. You’re going to have unique relationships with patients. They will trust you. They will confide in you. You will be a counselor, a friend, and a healer. You’ll rejoice in their good outcomes, and you will, at times, despair when biology defeats your best efforts. Through all of it, I promise you will find fulfillment, you will find satisfaction, [and] you will encounter enormous personal growth.”
Heather Ferrill, DO, MS, MEdL, Dean of RVUCOM, delivered the Dean’s Charge, encouraging the new Osteopathic physicians to enter their profession with intention, and attention to not only patient care, but also self-care. The students were then hooded, representing another seminal milestone in their medical career and officially welcoming them into the osteopathic medical profession. The graduating class chose Clyde Jensen, PhD, MS, Co-Director of the Academic Medicine and Leadership Track, to serve as the faculty hooder, while some students opted to have a family member or loved one join them on stage to perform the hooding.
A Commissioning Ceremony was held to recognize the ranking of 7 graduates from the Military Medicine Program, one of RVU’s specialty programs. This ceremony was conducted by Robert Enzenauer, MD, Brigadier General (ret.), US Army National Guard, Professor of Ophthalmology and Pediatrics and the Chief of Ophthalmology at the Children’s Hospital of Colorado in Aurora. Before retiring from the US Army National Guard, Dr. Enzenauer served as Assistant Adjutant General for Space and Missile Defense.
During the MSBS program’s ceremony, Program Director Francina Towne, PhD, delivered welcoming remarks, and reminded the graduates not to underestimate the weight of their accomplishment: “I am mindful of what it is that we are doing here today, the power, meaning, and significance of this event in your journey,” she said. “People often say that the point of a preparatory Master’s program… is [to be] a stepping stone to something more. While this might be true, I want to make sure that you don’t overlook the importance of this step, the value of what you’ve accomplished, and the pride you’re feeling in this moment.”
In her keynote address, Stella Chan, DO ’21, MSBS ’17, related a story about the passing of a late patient who was able to spend his last moments in the company of those he loved and to pass on his role of caretaker to his mother to his neighbor and friend. She also spoke of the motivation that she and other doctors share to give patients the best care possible. “Things will be hard but you will adapt, and you will do well and move forward. From the MCAT, to boards, to real-life medicine,” Dr. Chan said. “I hope as you become healthcare professionals…that you will find stories like these to motivate you. It has been helpful for me to find my motivation and purpose as I have to rely on both time and time again.”
Students graduating from the medical school will shortly begin their residency programs across the U.S. The MSBS graduates will continue their education in professional programs – many attending RVUCOM.
RVU congratulates all graduates on their accomplishment and wishes them well as they begin the next chapter in their chosen field.