Midwestern University Honors Service, Raises Scholarship Funds at Annual Gala

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October 23, 2017

Academic, healthcare, business, and community leaders from around the Valley of the Sun joined together at Midwestern University on Saturday, October 14 at the annual Bright Lights, Shining Stars gala, which recognizes and honors community service and leadership. The event was held at the University’s Glendale Campus at 19555 North 59th Avenue.

This year, Kathleen H. Goeppinger, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Midwestern University, presented the 2017 COMET (Community Outreach: Motivating Excellence for Tomorrow) Award to Royal Oaks Retirement Community. A VIP Partner for Midwestern’s Spirit of Service Scholarship program since 2012, Royal Oaks Retirement Community is the only Life Plan Community (CCRC) in Sun City offering full Lifecare. The 40-acre campus includes 360 independent living homes and apartments, 59 assisted living apartments, a 56-suite memory care center, and 57 suites for nursing care (complete supportive living). Royal Oaks has partnered with University faculty and students on several healthcare initiatives for its residents, including eye and vision care, dental services, speech-language pathology/memory care, and podiatry services.

In addition to the COMET Award, Dr. Goeppinger presented the 2017 Shooting Star Award to Donald and Sharon Jarnagin. Donald E. Jarnagin, O.D., is a past Dean of the Midwestern University Arizona College of Optometry and a former President of the American Optometric Association (AOA). During his tenure as Dean, Dr. Jarnagin oversaw the College’s accreditation process and the opening of the Midwestern University Eye Institute. A leader in the community and known as one of Arizona’s best optometrists, he served for over 30 years in private practice before joining Midwestern University in 2007. Dr. Jarnagin’s strong community involvement includes supporting the City of Glendale, the Glendale Chamber of Commerce, the Glendale Rotary Club, and charities such as the American Cancer Society and United Way. He graduated from Arizona State University and received his Doctor of Optometry degree, cum laude, from Southern California College of Optometry. Dr. Jarnagin is also a veteran of the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps and a recipient of the Army Commendation Medal.

Sharon Jarnagin has spent many years serving Midwestern University as a volunteer for various programs and events, including the annual Chippin’ in for Students Golf Classic and the Bright Lights, Shining Stars Gala. Mrs. Jarnagin has also served as a standardized patient at the University’s Clinical Skills and Simulation Center, helping Midwestern students sharpen their diagnostic skills and patient interactions. She is on the Board of Directors of Arizona Broadway Theatre in Glendale, and volunteers at the Andre House in Phoenix, preparing and serving meals to the city’s homeless and underserved populations.

“The Midwestern University Bright Lights, Shining Stars gala is truly a community event bringing many friends of the University together to share in our growth while providing scholarship monies for our healthcare students. We are grateful for the opportunity to honor a valued University partner and two very special members of our Midwestern family. All of our honorees are wonderful examples of service and commitment to healthcare education and community outreach,” said Dr. Goeppinger.

Four Spirit of Service scholarships were awarded at the gala to students representing four Midwestern University colleges for the 2017-2018 academic year. Scholarship recipients include: Amanda Gill, from the College of Dental Medicine-Arizona (CDMA); Dhara Mehta, from the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine; Beth Richter, from the College of Health Sciences (CHS-Glendale) Clinical Psychology Program; and Reena Sail, from the College of Pharmacy-Glendale. The Spirit of Service scholarship program recognizes outstanding Midwestern University students based on community service, leadership abilities, academic standing, and financial need.

The annual black-tie-optional event, which raises scholarship funds for students in all of Midwestern University’s colleges, also featured a formal dinner, live entertainment, and a silent auction.

2017 COMET Award

Carol Bryan, Chair of the Board of Trustees of Royal Oaks Retirement Community (middle), accepts the 2017 COMET Award from Midwestern University President and CEO Kathleen H. Goeppinger, Ph.D. (left), and Executive Vice President and COO Arthur G. Dobbelaere, Ph.D.

2017 Shooting Star

2017 Shooting Star Award recipients Donald and Sharon Jarnagin with Dr. Goeppinger and Dr. Dobbelaere

Spirit of Service Scholarships

Spirit of Service Scholarship award recipients Amanda Gill (College of Dental Medicine-Arizona 2020, left) and Dhara Mehta (Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine 2020, right)

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