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
Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institution of higher education dedicated
to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia
College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM), a premier osteopathic medical school with
a storied 125-year history. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine,
pharmacy, and physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, medical
laboratory science, and physician assistant studies. The campus joins PCOM South Georgia
in Moultrie in helping to meet the healthcare needs of the state. Emphasizing "a whole
person" approach to care, PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional
education and service to the community. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 678-225-7500. 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 pcomgeorgiahealth.org.