Last month we ended another successful academic year with the College’s fortieth commencement. It was a day to celebrate the academic achievements and successes of our students and to welcome them into our family of alumni. Commencement is always a great day for any higher education institution. Not only because of its celebratory nature but also because it offers the opportunity to reflect back on all of the collective hard work that our faculty, staff, administration and students have put in to help make such a day possible. It also gives us a chance to catch our breath and think about the ways in which we’ll continue to improve upon everything that we do.
As we’re all well aware, we currently stand at a watershed moment for health care in the United States. Health care reform has greatly shifted the paradigm of how care is delivered, and while this has created much uncertainty it has also created an enormous amount of opportunity. To paraphrase our commencement speaker Ronda Kotelchuck, the CEO of the Primary Care Development Corporation, our newly graduated students, and those who will come after them, face the very unique prospect of leading the way through this unprecedented change. This is something that we take very seriously at the College. We don’t want to—indeed we can’t—simply create competent health care providers. We need to do more. Our goal, now more than ever, is to nurture leadership among our students and provide them with the tools that they will need to successfully guide us through this unparalleled moment.
One of our distinct goals at the College is to help our students in the professional program recognize that they aren’t simply entering a career once they leave us but that they’re entering a massive, evolving health care system. While this undoubtedly presents some challenges, it also presents even more opportunities and we work hard to ensure that our students are ready to embrace them.
But our work, of course, is not done and ever-evolving. It is our duty to continue to develop new and better ways to provide our students with the tools that they need to not only succeed but to thrive in this changing environment. As we carry out our current strategic plan, “A Legacy of Leadership,” our focus will continue to be placed on this overarching goal and we will continue to improve upon and develop innovative ways to help our graduates flourish.
Have a great summer.
David A. Heath, OD, EdM