LECOM Marks Milestone With Largest Graduating Class

Students To Receive Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, Doctor of Pharmacy, Doctor of Dental Medicine, Master’s Degrees

ERIE, PA – The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) will graduate its largest class to date over the coming weeks. The nation’s largest medical school will award 1,137 degrees when LECOM Erie holds its 23rd Commencement Ceremony at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 26 at Erie Insurance Arena and when LECOM Bradenton hosts its 12th Commencement Ceremony a week later in Florida.

LECOM Erie will confer 566 degrees upon its 2019 graduating class. During the ceremony, 256 students from the Erie campus and 101 students from LECOM at Seton Hill in Greensburg will receive Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degrees. In addition to the medical graduates, 130 Doctor of Pharmacy degrees will be awarded, and 38 students will receive the Master in Health Services Administration degree (11 dual degrees). LECOM will confer Master of Science in Medical Education degrees upon 36 students, and another five scholars will be awarded the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences degree.

The LECOM Bradenton ceremony, set for 10 a.m. Sunday, June 2 at the Bradenton Area Convention Center in Palmetto, Florida, will include the awarding of 194 Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degrees, 166 Doctor of Pharmacy degrees and 100 Doctor of Dental Medicine degrees. Additionally, LECOM officials will award 69 Master of Science degrees and 42 Master in Health Services degrees (12 dual degrees). In total, 571 degrees will be conferred upon LECOM’s 2019 Florida scholars.

Among this year’s crop of College of Osteopathic Medicine graduates is Karina “Helene” Rovnan, a former freestyle South African swimmer who represented her country in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics.

Rovnan dreamed of becoming a doctor since childhood, but her swimming career – which included numerous record-breaking and medal-winning performances as well as a scholarship to the University of Nebraska – disrupted her plans. Instead, she became a physician assistant, but never felt that she was living up to her full potential.

LECOM’s problem-based learning curriculum appealed to Rovnan, who was able to fill gaps in her medical training through the group-based, conceptual education pathway at Seton Hill. Now as she approaches commencement and the culmination of her life’s ambition, Rovnan is emotional about her journey.

“I’m thankful that LECOM gave me a chance,” she said. “Earning my degree ranks up there with finishing sixth in the world at the 2000 Summer Games.”

For Joseph Yeager, the upcoming Erie commencement ceremony will be his second. Yeager earned his Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2015 before enrolling in LECOM’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. Having dual degrees will provide additional insight into how Yeager should treat his patients.

“Now the real work begins,” said Yeager, who will be starting an emergency medicine residency at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown. “This is when you learn how to be the type of doctor you’re supposed to be.”

LECOM is the largest medical school in the U.S. and is part of LECOM Health, the only osteopathic academic health center in the nation. The 2019 graduating class will join a network of more than 11,000 LECOM alumni delivering quality health care to patients across the U.S.

College of Osteopathic Medicine graduates will continue their post-graduate training at hospitals throughout the U.S., with 30 percent continuing their education in Pennsylvania and Florida. LECOM graduates more primary care physicians than any other institution in the country.

Many Doctor of Pharmacy graduates will begin their careers at community and clinical pharmacies across the country, and an increasing number of them elect to continue with post-graduate specialized residency programs. LECOM Master of Medical Education and Master in Health Services Administration graduates are planning to use their new skills at teaching hospitals and in leadership roles at healthcare facilities around the country.

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