College Celebrates its FoundingJanuary 29, 2020
Annual tradition marks the start of PCOM in 1899 by Drs. O.J. Snyder and Mason W.
On Friday, January 24th, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) came together as a community in celebration of Founders’ Day. This annual tradition
marks the start of PCOM in 1899 by Drs. O.J. Snyder and Mason W. Pressly, both of whom sought to bring the osteopathic
philosophy of treating the whole person to Philadelphia.
In recognition of its founding, the College recently hosted celebrations at all three
locations as well as a luncheon to honor the recipients of the founders’ namesake
awards: the O.J. Snyder Memorial Medal and the Mason W. Pressly Memorial Medal. The
Alumni Association Certificate of Honor was also presented at the luncheon. This award
is given to alumnus/alumna in recognition of loyal devotion to the welfare and strengthening
Each Founders’ Day medal is presented to an alumnus/alumna, community member or student
who has exhibited outstanding leadership and service to the osteopathic profession,
the College and the community. This year’s O.J. Snyder Memorial Medal recipient, Arthur J. Sesso, DO ’81, has taught at the College since 1986, and has chaired PCOM’s Department of Surgery
for 15 years.
Dr. Sesso has dedicated his career to medical education and mentorship at PCOM. He
heads the College’s committee focused on transforming physician training with more
hands-on learning and less classroom time—and with more focus on wellness, communication
and understanding how to run a system-based practice.
As I look back over my career at PCOM, more has been given to me here than any other
thing I’ve ever done in my life,” said Dr. Sesso. “I met my wife through PCOM, my
best friends through PCOM, enjoyed a career beyond imagination in surgery at PCOM,
and now a deanship. I have nothing but good things to say about PCOM.”
Kathleen E. Ackert (DO ’20) was also honored with the Mason W. Pressly Memorial Medal*. This award is presented
to a student for his or her outstanding achievement and service to the College, the
community and the osteopathic profession. Ms. Ackert, who has made storytelling part of her medical education, plans to make
it part of her medical practice when she starts her career as an obstetrician/gynecologist.
Ms. Ackert spoke of the foundation she received throughout her education and thanked
her parents and the teachers who had supported her from kindergarten through medical
school. “It is an honor to give that recognition and support back to them today,”
The PCOM Alumni Association Certificate of Honor was awarded to Monique A. Gary, DO ’09, for her on-going support of PCOM. Dr. Gary has served as a member of the PCOM Admissions
Committee, as a clinical associate professor of surgery, and as a regular speaker
and mentor to student organizations.
In her speech, Dr. Gary reminded the PCOM community of the importance of giving back
even in the face of adversity. In a direct address to students she shared, “if you’re
going to give, give, find a way. If you’re going to serve, serve, find a path.”
*Fellow Mason W. Pressly Memorial Medal recipient Abdul A. Walters, MS/Biomed ’16 (DO ’20) will be honored at a ceremony in the spring at PCOM Georgia.
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About Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has trained thousands
of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists
who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms.
PCOM operates three campuses (PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia) and offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, educational psychology, osteopathic
medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and school psychology, and graduate degrees in
applied behavior analysis, applied positive psychology, biomedical sciences, forensic
medicine, medical laboratory science, mental health counseling, non profit leadership
and population health management, organizational development and leadership, physician
assistant studies, school psychology, and public health management and administration.
PCOM students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service
to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care
to medically underserved populations. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 215-871-6100.
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