Press Release: WesternU COMP-Northwest Celebrates Virtual Commencement

Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest celebrated the incredible journey and bright future of its Class of 2020 graduates. 

COMP-Northwest held its 2020 Virtual Commencement, Hooding & Oath Ceremony on May 29, 2020 via Zoom. WesternU Board of Trustees member Gene Barduson, MMath, LHD (Hon.), served as the keynote speaker. He said the keynote speaker is expected to provide inspiration to graduates, but he believes the roles are reversed. 

“It is you that are the inspiration. It is you who inspire us each and every day,” he said. “It is your passion, your brilliance, your skill, your creativity, and compassion that represent our future. 

“It’s you who will take the promise of technology and turn it into personalized medicine. It is you who will transform a health system that rewards itself by the number of procedures it performs to a system that rewards itself by the health and the wellness of the community it serves,” Barduson added. “It is you who will open up the frontier of disease reversal, attacking the symptoms of chronic illness. It is you who will address the crisis of behavioral health, treating and preventing depression, addition and abuse. It is you that will be joining your colleagues on the front lines, researching and innovating solutions for diseases such as COVID-19.” 

WesternU President Daniel R. Wilson, MD, PhD, provided an inspirational video message and Provost and Senior Vice President David Baron, DO, MSEd, virtually conferred degrees. 

A slide with each graduate’s photo and favorite quote or memory from medical school accompanied a live feed of the graduate being hooded by a family member or friend. 

Of the 106 members of the graduating class, 49 placed into primary care fields including family medicine (21), internal medicine (13), pediatrics (eight), and OB-GYN (seven). Students also placed into emergency medicine residency programs (17); psychiatry (three); general surgery (six); one in neurology and two in child neurology; and anesthesiology (nine); among other specialties. 

Sixteen students will complete their training in the Pacific Northwest, with half of them in Oregon: four in Portland hospitals and four at Good Samaritan Regional Center in Corvallis. The other eight students will complete their residency training in Washington. 

COMP-Northwest Vice Dean John T. Pham, DO, administered the Osteopathic Oath. 

“It’s surely been a long and difficult journey to reach this point, but you all did it. You are such spectacular individuals and we are extremely proud of you,” Pham said. “It’s been amazing to see what you have accomplished in the past four years and I am looking forward to seeing what you will achieve in the future. Your future is so bright.” 

COMP-Northwest Dean Paula M. Crone, DO ’92, gave her Dean’s Charge to the Class of 2020. 

“I charge you to be extraordinary, to be exceptional, to settle for nothing less. You all have it in you to do so,” Crone said. “I charge you to be courageous, to be leaders in your communities and always, always the champions of your patients. I charge you to be healers, not just doctors. To seek wellness, not just treat disease. I charge you to be proud osteopathic physicians, to be proud of who you are, where you come from and where you’re going.” 

“It has been our honor, our pleasure, and our joy to share this incredible journey with you for the past four years. Each day with you has been an adventure and we will cherish every moment for as long as possible,” said COMP-Northwest Assistant Dean Mirabelle Fernandes Paul, EdD. “No matter where life takes you, doctors, remember that you will always have a home and a family here at COMP-Northwest in Lebanon, Oregon. So doctors, your future - no, our future - is in your hands. Now go out and make a difference.” 

About Western University of Health Sciences 

Western University of Health Sciences, located in Pomona, Calif. and Lebanon, Ore., is an independent nonprofit health professions university, conferring degrees in biomedical sciences, dental medicine, health sciences, medical sciences, nursing, optometry, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, podiatric medicine and veterinary medicine. WesternU is home to WesternU Health, where the best in collaborative health care services is offered. The Chronicle of Higher Education named WesternU a Great College to Work For in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

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