Midwestern University AZCOM Commencement

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Message from the President

It is my honor to welcome you to Midwestern University’s virtual commencement ceremony for the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine (AZCOM) Class of 2020. This spring has been unlike any we have ever experienced; I am very grateful for all our students, faculty, and staff at Midwestern University, and impressed by their many efforts. They have worked together to respond to new challenges with resilience, compassion, and an unwavering commitment to excellence. While I truly wish we could all be together for this momentous occasion, I know that the true spirit of Midwestern University is not dependent on a place, time, or gathering.

The Midwestern University family comes together today to celebrate the academic accomplishments of our extraordinary students. Our commencement ceremonies have always focused on our graduates while acknowledging the faculty, loved ones, and supporters who helped them reach this important milestone. I personally thank every graduate for being a member of the Midwestern University academic community and entrusting us with their dreams.

You began orientation as strangers, but today, you graduate as friends and colleagues. These past four years were filled with many events, milestones, and unique experiences. While you were completing your studies at AZCOM, there were 12 marriages and 10 engagements; 28 new babies  were born, with one on the way; and, in the spirit of One Health,  you also welcomed 16 new puppies, four new kittens, and a bunny rabbit into your families. 

Commencement is a joyful event that celebrates all of your accomplishments, but it is also an opportunity to remember love ones who, although no longer with us, made a big impact in your lives. I invite you to reflect on the care, love, and generosity you received from those special individuals, and, if you wish, dedicate your graduation to them. Please join me in a moment of reflection in memory of your friend and classmate, Nasser Koucheki. He was the beloved son of Gholamreza and Atousa Koucheki, and loving brother of Armon Koucheki; Nasser was indeed a very special young man, cherished by his classmates, faculty and staff. The entire Midwestern community was shaken by Nasser’s passing, and all showed love and support to those grieving his tragic loss. Nasser was a friend to all, and his energy and spirit were known by many. Nasser was an avid sports enthusiast and his goal was to pursue a medical career focused on helping athletes who experience repeated head trauma. Nasser was passionate about life and reminded everyone the importance of be willing to work with others, count on others, and be a part of something bigger than yourself.  It is my sincere hope that you will always cherish the memories of your loved ones’ kindnesses and support through your education, and that those memories will encourage you to return those kindnesses to your patients and communities.

The AZCOM Class of 2020 has been remarkable for academic honors on rotations, and several of your classmates received membership in the Sigma Sigma Phi Osteopathic Honors fraternity. We have seen some of your work published in journals and books. Your research has been featured at our own Kenneth A. Suarez Research Day and at various state and national competitions. Your achievements required hard work and perseverance, but you accomplished it through teamwork, class friendships, and kindnesses from classmates, faculty, staff, and family that let you know that you were never in this alone.

Community Service was not just a requirement, but a privilege for your class. You participated in health screenings for homeless populations, went on mission trips, and provided health education to people in need; your outreach provided you with unique and impactful experiences that took you beyond the classroom and textbook. Your giving spirit led you to these experiences, and these experiences in turn will inform and enhance your professional career by reminding you of the good you can do when you put your patients first.

For those of you entering the military, we are tremendously proud that you will represent Midwestern University as you serve our country.

You are receiving your Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree and joining the ranks of outstanding alumni that serve the health care community all around our nation and the world. Our graduates are leaders in all health care fields, representing Midwestern University with pride wherever they practice. You, like all of those who have graduated before you, have the necessary skills to be an exceptional and compassionate member of the health care team.

One of your classmates provided a touching thought reflecting on graduation: “At the end of it all, it was not the test I aced, not the rotation I honored, or the papers I published that made me happy… it was seeing the victories of my peers, my classmates, and my friends as they became the leaders and professionals who will solve tomorrow’s problems that will stay with me forever.” What a wonderful sentiment – and what a wonderful testament to your selflessness and the relationships that you have built as students that will stay with you in your professional lives. 

We celebrate our Class of 2020 and know that they leave Midwestern University with the full love and support of their faculty and staff. We are so proud of each and every one of our graduates who will soon join the team of healthcare heroes caring for our nation. Thank you for letting Midwestern University be a part of your journey.

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