Graduates, families, faculty and staff watched the ceremony during the live premier on Facebook and YouTube.
On Thursday, May 21, the age-old tradition of commencement, complete with Sir Edward Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance,” was celebrated by PCOM Georgia graduates and their loved ones through the present-day convenience of social media. The 40-minute online ceremony for the 128 Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine graduates premiered on Facebook and YouTube on May 21 at 10:30 a.m. More than 400 screens were tuned in to the ceremony at the same time with views continuing.
H. William Craver III, DO ‘87, now dean and chief academic officer of PCOM South Georgia and formerly PCOM Georgia’s dean and chief academic officer for close to 10 years, recognized the situation that caused a shift from the traditional ceremony. “Now is a particularly difficult time in health care and in the world,” he said. “It is only appropriate to acknowledge the gravity the COVID-19 pandemic represents and the frontlines you will join.”
Jay S. Feldstein, DO ’81, president and CEO of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM), addressed the class and fellow celebrants. He said, “In the end, it will be your forward-thinking leadership that will restore our nation to health. Your dedicated labor will carry us through our time of crisis. And your dream to heal will ensure that our healthcare system, post-pandemic, delivers on the unmet health and wellness needs of our society as a whole.”
“I have never been more proud of a class of students,” he said. “There has never been a more important time to be a physician.”
Class of 2020 Chair, Ronak Patel, DO ’20, drew his colleagues’ attention to the meaning of the ceremony. “The focus of today is about celebrating what my classmates and I have accomplished over the past four years. It is difficult to put into words what this day means to us.”
He noted that his fellow graduates have the opportunity to demonstrate resiliency. “We have remained and continue to remain resilient, steadfast, tenacious and tough through all the challenges we face. This current situation is no different.”
“Our class will not be remembered as the class that lost commencement because of COVID-19. Instead we will be remembered as the class that remained laser-focused on meeting the challenges of an uncertain environment and succeeding in spite of the obstacles that lay ahead.”
He added, “We stand here today as a testament to our ability to emerge from our struggles, stronger and more equipped to take on whatever life has in store.”
As the Class of 2020 moves toward their residency years, Joseph Kaczmarczyk, DO ‘82, interim dean of PCOM Georgia, wished the class “aequanimitas now and for the rest of your careers as osteopathic physicians.”
He explained that Sir William Osler, an esteemed medical educator from the 1800s, defined this quality as “coolness and presence of mind under all circumstances, calmness amid storms and clearness of judgment in moments of grave peril.”
In a letter to the class, Dr. Kaczmarczyk wrote, “I want to tell you how very proud I am of you, especially of how well you have managed unanticipated, unprecedented and unrelenting challenges with aplomb and professionalism.”
Led by Dr. Patel, the class repeated its mission statement in unison which they penned during orientation in the summer of 2016. Alluding to eyesight terminology, Patel began, “Through this lens, the PCOM Class of 2020 will embody a clear vision to provide unconditional, empathetic and patient-centered care as future Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine.”
View the virtual commencement ceremony on our YouTube channel.
Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine which has a storied history as a premier osteopathic medical school. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the wider community. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 678-225-7500.
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