Founding college of osteopathic medicine celebrates 154 new d.o.s

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. (May 30, 2007) – The 15,000th student to receive the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree will walk the stage at Truman State University’s Baldwin Auditorium on June 2, 2007, during the 115th Annual Commencement Ceremony for A.T. Still University’s Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM).

ATSU President James J. McGovern, Ph.D., said while the 15,000th graduate was a special occasion, it shouldn’t overshadow the fact that every KCOM graduation is an extraordinary event.

“For more than 100 years, KCOM and its graduates have helped change America’s perspective on what it really means to be well,” Dr. McGovern said. “We are sending these new physicians into the field, armed with the principles of osteopathic medicine, confident that they will carry on this tradition and help us make whole-person healthcare a reality for Americans and the world.”

ATSU-KCOM, founded in 1892 by university namesake Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, is the oldest osteopathic institution in the world. Consistent with ATSU’s award-winning practice of producing competent primary care physicians, 40% of the 154 graduating D.O.s will go on to residencies in family practice or internal medicine. A majority of the graduates will complete their residency training in Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Arizona.

The ceremony also features honorary degree awards: Frederic William Hafferty, Ph.D., professor of medical sociology at the University of Minnesota-Duluth School of Medicine, in Duluth, Minn., will receive an honorary Doctor of Human Letters (D.Hu.L.) degree; and Missouri Supreme Court Judge Mary R. Russell, J.D., will receive the honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) degree.

ATSU-KCOM Class of 1949 alumnus Ralph L. Willard, D.O., will receive the honorary Doctor of Osteopathic Education (D.O.Ed.) degree. Dr. Willard is a former administrator and dean with ATSU-KCOM, Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, and West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. A World War II and Korean War combat veteran, Dr. Willard is a retired Colonel from the U.S. Air Force Reserve.