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LECOM Erie Holds Its 16th Commencement Ceremony

Families and friends of the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine Class of 2012 gathered in Erie on Sunday to watch 410 graduates receive their degrees.  LECOM commencement moved to the picturesque Presque Isle Bay for the first time in the College’s 20 year history.

There, as the U.S. Brig Niagara and other vessels sailed by the Bayfront Convention Center, LECOM honored the new Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctors of Pharmacy and Master of Science graduates.


The move required two separate commencement ceremonies to accommodate more than 3000 guests.  At 10 a.m., as the orchestra played the fanfare from Clark’s Trumpet Voluntary, 23Master of Science candidates and 139 pharmacy students marched into the Great Hall of the convention center.

Before they received their degrees, the students heard from Rear Admiral Scott Giberson, the United States Assistant Surgeon General and Chief Professional Officer for Pharmacy for the Public Health Service.

With Lake Erie across the bay, Admiral Giberson gave an analogy of a ship built for the sea with no value until it leaves the harbor. “Today, you are now the ships in the harbor, ‘built’ in the academic shipyard of LECOM,” he told the graduates. “Your years and level of education are ‘the materials’ which exceed that of most health care professionals. You have the ability to manage or prevent disease with medications. You are health care providers, you are public health professionals, and trusted members of communities. What tremendous gifts you have been given. You have the capacity to have great impact. Yet, you will not have this great impact from the harbor…that impact can only be realized at sea.”

He extolled the graduates to meet the challenges of health reform and to prepare to play an integral role in nation’s health. “So, I ask you, during this time of change – where the demands of access to care, chronic care and cost-containment are paramount, (…I ask you) what is your intent? Will you remain in the harbor? Are you content that you are not yet considered a ‘health care provider’, even though you provide patient care and improve the health of nearly everyone you encounter with your expertise?”

Giberson_Web_IMG_1022On Saturday, Admiral Giberson met with LECOM faculty, students and local pharmacists to discuss his landmark report to the U.S. Surgeon General on the expanding role of pharmacists as health care providers.
Improving Patient and Health System Outcomes through Advanced Pharmacy Practice presents evidence and compelling discussion to support health reform through pharmacists delivering expanded patient care services. Through video-conferencing, the meeting was viewed by guests at the LECOM Bradenton, Florida campus.Admiral Giberson concluded, “apply your passion, grow stronger through balance, and build bridges.  Take your ship to sea. Do what you are built to do.”  Following the commencement address, LECOM President John M. Ferretti, DO conferred the LECOM Honorary Doctor of Science degree to Admiral Giberson for his achievements in the fields of public health and pharmacy.

Medical_Web_IMG_1211At the afternoon ceremony, LECOM President John M. Ferretti, DO, took the occasion to recognize one of the founding physicians of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dennis E. Agostini, PhD, DO.  Dr. Agostini received the President’s Distinguished Citizens Award, granted to those who have made significant contributions toward the growth and recognition of LECOM.
Later Sunday afternoon, the medical college convened to hold commencement ceremonies for 248 new Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine.  These new physicians were prepared to move on to the challenges of post-graduate internships and residency programs, but first they would walk across the commencement stage to receive their diplomas and academic hoods signifying this momentous occasion.

In presenting the award, Dr. Ferretti told the audience, ”He is a man who truly can be considered one of the “LECOM Founders” and one who was instrumental in all that we have come to know as “The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine”.”

Dr. Agostini committed more than twenty years of unparalleled service to the college. This fitting tribute recognizes his esteemed positions at LECOM, including those of Associate Dean of Clinical Education, Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine and Biochemistry and Chief Academic Officer of the Lake Erie Consortium for Osteopathic Medical Training.

As Associate Dean, Dr. Agostini built the clinical education program from one teaching hospital to more than 100 hospitals and clinics where our students pursue their third- and fourth-year training.  Today, nearly 2000 clinical adjunct faculty teach our students.  As the LECOMT Chief Academic Hospital he worked diligently to attract new post graduate teaching hospitals as that program grew from one hospital to nearly 40.

Picture L to R: Chairman of the LECOM Board of Trustees, Michael J. Visnosky, Esq., Dr. Dennis Agostini and LECOM President and CEO, Dr. John M. Ferretti.

This commencement ceremony marked the end of this distinguished career at LECOM, as Dr. Agostini officially retired after decades of commitment to the College.