Commencement Speaker Fund Bequeathed $1M June 14, 2017
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) is the beneficiary of a $1 million
bequest from alumnus David A. Bitonte, DO ’80, MBA, MPH, to establish the David A.
Bitonte, DO ’80 Endowed Annual Commencement Speaker Fund.
Funds generated from the endowment will go toward supporting the cost of a distinguished
speaker at the College’s Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Commencement ceremony in Philadelphia. Individuals who are nationally recognized in the fields of science
and/or medicine will be considered as a speaker, with a special consideration for
PCOM alumni who serve at those levels.
“I wanted to set up the speaker fund for a few reasons,” said Dr. Bitonte, an anesthesiologist
in Canton, Ohio. “When the graduating students arrive on Commencement Day, I want
them to be inspired and excited about their future, and to recognize what they have
earned and cherish it. I also wanted to give back to the school that gave me so much,
by bringing honor and recognition to the College with a nationally known and respected
leader at the ceremony.”
Dr. Bitonte has given regularly to PCOM over the past several years and is a member
of the A.T. Still Legacy Society, which acknowledges those who provide for the future
of the College through planned gifts. He also is a member of the PCOM Blue Ribbon
Loyalty Society, which recognizes donors at all levels who have given to PCOM for
five consecutive years or more.
“PCOM offered me the opportunity to become an osteopathic physician, and I truly appreciate
that opportunity,” said Dr. Bitonte. “It allows me to serve mankind in a very special
and rewarding manner.” He noted several former faculty and staff, including Vincent
T. Cipolla, DO ’46, former professor and chair, anatomy; Emanuel Fliegelman, DO ’42,
former professor, obstetrics and gynecology; and Dominic DeBias, PhD, former chair
of pharmacology, as “exemplifying the great education I received and special connection
I have to PCOM.”
This will be Dr. Bitonte’s largest one-time gift to the institution. He and his family
have also given to The Ohio State University (OSU) College of Dentistry, where Dr.
Bitonte’s father, uncle, brother and niece attended. Two of his three children also
attended OSU. He also has contributed to the American Osteopathic Foundation. Dr. Bitonte says his giving spirit came from his parents, who established the Dr.
Dominic and Helen Bitonte Family Foundation in 2001.
“My parents were model philanthropists,” he said. “They donated to health care systems,
universities, local museums—any charity they deemed worthy.” Now, he and his brother
strive to carry on their late parents’ vision. “We want to give back to those organizations
that put their hands out every day to help others.”
“PCOM is extremely grateful to Dr. Bitonte for his generosity in establishing such
a thoughtful fund—one that will have an impact on many generations of graduating physicians,”
said Jay S. Feldstein, DO ’81, president and CEO.
Since receiving his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from PCOM in 1980, Dr. Bitonte has served as a tireless advocate of the profession.
He is a past president of the Ohio Osteopathic Association and has attended the American Osteopathic Association’s House of Delegates meeting
as part of the Ohio delegation for several years. He is an American Osteopathic Association
Health Policy fellow, and is a past president of the American Osteopathic College of Anesthesiologists, the PCOM Alumni Association, the Akron-Canton Academy of Osteopathic Medicine and the Stark County Medical Society.
In 2008, he was appointed by Ohio Governor Ted Strickland as chair of the Public Health
Council Board for the Ohio Department of Health. He also served as medical director
for Ohio KePRO, which serves nearly 2 million beneficiaries as the Medicare quality-improvement
organization for Ohio, and has volunteered with the Medical Reserve Corps Unit of
the Stark County Health Department.
Dr. Bitonte has three children: Elizabeth, an attorney in Columbus, Ohio; David, an
osteopathic physician currently on radiology residency in Canton, Ohio; and Caroline,
a student in Columbus, Ohio.
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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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