DMU celebrates 109th commencement ceremony

May 26, 2009 —

(Des Moines, IA) – Des Moines University (DMU) awarded 450 degrees at its 2009 Commencement service May 23 at 10 a.m. at the Polk County Convention Complex, 501 Grand Ave. The dean from each of the three DMU colleges presented their classes and DMU President, former Iowa Governor Terry E. Branstad, conferred degrees.

Continuing a tradition started in 1899, the College of Osteopathic Medicine awarded the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree to 195 graduates, the Master of Science in Biomedical Science to two and the Master of Science in Anatomy to three graduates. The College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery awarded the Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (D.P.M.) degree to 47 graduates and the College of Health Sciences awarded degrees from five programs — Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) to 47, Postprofessional Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T) to 62, Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (M.S.) to 39, Master of Public Health (M.P.H) to 26 and Master of Health Care Administration (M.H.A.) to 29 graduates. Some students earned dual degrees.

The featured speaker was William G. Anderson, D.O., FACOS, a 1956 DMU graduate. Born in the segregated South, Dr. Anderson was determined to become a doctor at a time when many African-Americans had limited access to health care, much less careers as physicians. Dr. Anderson also was determined to open doors for others. At a time when African-Americans were blatantly denied basic civil rights, he was a founder and first president of the Albany Movement, which spearheaded the civil rights movement in southwest Georgia. He and his wife, Norma, were joined by Martin Luther King Jr. and thousands of others in the fight against segregation.

Dr. Anderson rose to the highest pinnacle in osteopathic medicine. He was the first African-American certified by the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons and the first to serve as president of the American Osteopathic Association. Dr. Anderson conducted a successful group surgical practice until 1984. He then served as executive vice president and chief medical officer of the Michigan Health Corporation, director of governmental affairs for the Detroit Osteopathic Hospital and associate director of medical education at Detroit Riverview Hospital. He now is senior advisor to the dean, Michigan State College of Osteopathic Medicine, vice president for academic affairs in osteopathic medical education at Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit.

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Des Moines University (DMU) is the only private medical school in Iowa, offering graduate-level, professional degree programs in osteopathic medicine, podiatric medicine, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, biomedical sciences, anatomy, health care administration and public health. Founded in 1898, the institution offers superior academics in a collaborative environment. DMU students' pass rate on national examinations and board certifications is consistently higher than the national average and the rates at similar institutions.


Courtney Tompkins has been part of the DMU marketing team since Nov. 2005 and loves promoting a school she believes in so thoroughly. Proud daughter and patient of DMU alumni, Courtney knows, first-hand, that Des Moines University is doing a world of good. A fan of all outdoor festivals, fruity drinks and nearly all edibles, she has a hard time narrowing down her list of favorite places to go and things to do but lists the Iowa State Fair as an all-time fave. She loves her 8-minute commute to DMU from Urbandale, a suburb of Des Moines. She and husband Tyler are owned by three large dogs, Tonka, Tucker and Tank.