John Manchin II, D.O., reminisced about the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine’s (WVSOM) history during his keynote speech at the school’s annual Convocation and White Coat Ceremony.
The White Coat Ceremony is the first step in the medical school journey as the white coat symbolizes each student’s commitment to the osteopathic medical profession and his or her pledge to serving communities and residents.
On Aug. 26, Manchin, who was part of the first WVSOM graduating class in 1978, spoke to 207 first-year medical students about the importance of knowing their medical school’s history, including the founders’ fortitude and determination in creating a successful osteopathic medical school that would serve rural areas of West Virginia.
“Before I go any further I have to pay tribute to our founders, and I’m reminded of a famous quote from Winston Churchill. ‘Never was so much owed by so many to so few.’ Please take the time to learn about these early founders of WVSOM – Dr. Apgar, Dr. Bailes, Dr. Wallington and Dr. Newell,” Manchin said to the students.
Manchin recognized O.J. Bailes, D.O., the last living founder of WVSOM, who is now 93 years old and part of the day’s ceremony. He also acknowledged the family members in attendance of the four founders.
“You all must be so proud and your family heritage will live on in all the students who have been given the opportunity to become osteopathic physicians,” he said.
Before wrapping up his speech, Manchin recognized that this was WVSOM President Michael Adelman’s, D.O., D.P.M., J.D., last White Coat Ceremony before retiring next summer. Earlier in the ceremony, Adelman officially recognized the new student doctors.
The ceremony also included brief greetings from Board of Governors Vice Chair Robert Holstein, D.O., Alumni Association President Mark Waddell, D.O., and West Virginia Osteopathic Medical Association President Clark Milton, D.O.
Manchin is a partner, chief executive officer and president of the Manchin Clinic in Farmington, the Manchin Clinic of Bridgeport and Manchin Clinic South in Fairmont, W.Va. He has served as a member of the WVSOM Board of Governors since 2009 and has been a WVSOM adjunct assistant professor of family practice since 1990.
The White Coat Ceremony takes place in addition to WVSOM’s Alumni Weekend hosted by the Alumni Association. Graduates return to campus for continuing medical education and other events including a barbecue and reunion dinner. Some alumni assist in the convocation by presenting white coats to students.