The Founders’ Day ceremony and other celebrations honor the birth of the College in 1899.
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) recently celebrated its 120th birthday with a host of celebrations, culminating in a lunchtime awards ceremony honoring those who embody the legacies of PCOM’s founders OJ Snyder and Mason W. Pressly.
On Thursday, January 24, the Philadelphia and Suwanee campuses hosted celebrations for the entire campus community with cake, and remarks by Jay S. Feldstein, DO ’81, president and CEO. More cake and conversation followed on Friday prior to the annual Founders’ Day awards ceremony, held at the Hilton Philadelphia City Avenue.
The ceremony celebrates the birth of PCOM in 1899 by Drs. Snyder and Pressly, who sought to bring the holistic, patient centered approach of osteopathic medicine to Philadelphia. Each year, the College selects recipients of the founders’ namesake awards to a student, faculty or staff member or alumnus who has exhibited outstanding leadership and service to the osteopathic profession, the College and the community.
This year’s Snyder Memorial Medal recipient, Alexander S. Nicholas, DO ’75, professor and chair, osteopathic manipulative medicine, has served the College for more than 40-plus years, touching the lives and shaping the future of thousands of osteopathic physicians. He has also contributed greatly to the osteopathic profession, but at the luncheon chose to thank those students, peers and event patients who shaped his own path—those whom he referred to as his own mentors.
“The students that I’ve had…have been really special,” he told the audience. “Through our OMM fellowship, I’ve been able to teach some of them for an extra year, to have them here for an extra year learning the techniques and helping our patients. They’ve become my ‘other’ family.”
Taylor E. Olian (DO ’19), a recipient of the Pressly Memorial Medal*, was recognized for her contributions to her future specialty of pediatrics; she noted that children are resilient, and that “in the future, I hope to help them manage their own chronic conditions.”
Of her time at PCOM, Ms. Olian said, “We have been encouraged to think about the bigger picture, and we will be better physicians to our patients because of this.”
Also honored at the luncheon was Tina Woodruff, EdD, senior advisor to the provost, who received the PCOM Alumni Association Certificate of Honor—the association’s highest award—for her tireless work in the Office of Student Affairs, ensuring that students on the Philadelphia and Suwanee campuses have access to robust academic, personal and career support services designed to help them reach their professional goals.
“Knowing that people are better off because of those efforts is a really great feeling,” she said.
*Fellow Pressly Memorial Medal recipient Hannah Shin (DO ’19) will be honored at a separate ceremony in the spring at PCOM Georgia.
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine 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 offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and school psychology, and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, forensic medicine, mental health counseling, organizational development and leadership, physician assistant studies, school psychology, and public health management and administration. Our 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 in inner city and rural locations. For more information, visit pcom.edu.
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