Founders’ Day celebrates the birth of PCOM in 1899 by O.J. Snyder and the Mason W. Pressly, who sought to bring the osteopathic philosophy of treating the whole person, not just their symptoms, to Philadelphia.
In recognition of its founding, the College recently hosted celebrations on both campuses, and a luncheon to honor the winners of the founders’ namesake awards: the O.J. Snyder Memorial Medal and the Mason W. Pressly Memorial Medal.
Each medal is presented to an alumnus or student who has exhibited outstanding leadership and service to the osteopathic profession, the College and the community. This year’s Snyder Memorial Medal recipient, Francis P. Sutter, DO ’76, is renowned for his innovative approach to coronary bypass surgery, which is far less invasive than traditional coronary bypass surgeries.
Dr. Sutter, chief of cardiac surgery at Lankenau Medical Center, thanked his wife and his many mentors for his success. He also noted that PCOM helped him focus on a love of medicine.
“PCOM gave me the start,” he said during the luncheon. “I’m here today because I followed my heart and I was passionate about what I did. But most importantly I was persistent about what I wanted”
Andrew G. Canakis (DO '18), a recipient of the Pressly Memorial Medal*, also thanked his friends and family for his success, and noted that Dr. Sutter had served as a kind of mentor.
“My interaction with Dr. Sutter altered my own trajectory and sent me towards PCOM’s doors,” he said.
Mr. Canakis was recognized for his tireless service to PCOM and the community, which included starting the College’s GI Club and a chapter of Philadelphia’s Health Careers Academy.
“To choose to lift others up, no matter how educated you are, and how you treat others tells all,” he said.
Also honored at the luncheon was Robert Cuzzolino, EdD, vice president for Graduate Programs and Planning, who received the PCOM Alumni Association Certificate of Honor—the association’s highest award—for his four-plus decades of service to the College.
“Osteopathic medicine is a unique and powerful way to view medicine, to underscore the relationship between doctor and patient, rather than patient and disease,” he said. “My optimism about PCOM remains fresh. Our success is not what our faculty staff or administration achieves, but what our students achieve. I believe PCOMs best years are in its future, and it will be carried by our students.”
*Fellow Pressly Memorial Medal recipient Danielle Ward (DO ’18) will be honored at a ceremony in the spring at GA-PCOM.
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine has trained more than 15,000 highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists who practice a “whole person” approach, treating people, not just symptoms. PCOM offers the doctor of osteopathic medicine, doctor of pharmacy and doctor of psychology degrees and graduate programs in mental health counseling, school psychology, physician assistant studies, forensic medicine, organizational development and leadership, and biomedical sciences. Our students learn the importance of health promotion, education and service to the community and, through PCOM’s Healthcare Centers, provide care to the medically underserved populations in inner city and rural locations.
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