Sally Riggs Wallin was known for her loyalty to DMU, her nurturing spirit and her broad smile. An academic assistant in family medicine, she brought cheer to faculty members buried in papers to grade and often handed students a piece of candy along with their case assignments in the Standardized Performance Assessment Laboratory (SPAL). When she died unexpectedly on March 1, after 23 years at the University, members of the DMU community lost a beloved friend.
“Sally worked for me for 12 years, but I think the operative word is she worked with me,” said Roberta Wattleworth, D.O.’81, M.H.A.’99, M.P.H.’04, FACOFP, FNAOME, professor of family medicine. “She was the glue that held the department together.”
Wattleworth spoke at a May 15 on-campus memorial for Ms. Wallin, at which the Class of 2015 osteopathic medical students dedicated a bench in her memory. Other speakers noted that her devotion to students will have a lasting impact.
“Sally loved her job, but mostly she loved the students. She touched their lives as much as they touched hers,” said Nancy Marshall, a certified billing coding specialist in the DMU Clinic.
“The thousands of students Sally touched will be like ripples in a pool,” added Greg Kolbinger, M.P.A.S.’85, PA-C, assistant professor of family medicine. “Her impact will never end.”
Ms. Wallin joined DMU in 1989 as a clerk typist in the public relations grants office and was promoted to medical secretary in the department of physiology and pharmacology. She also worked in the departments of obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine and physical diagnosis. Her many colleagues valued her humor and friendship.
“She settled into taking care of our bunch, and for those of you who know our bunch, you can appreciate that task,” said Edward Finnerty, Ph.D., SC, professor of physiology and pharmacology. “She’s one of those people who leaves a little bit of herself with everyone who comes in contact with her.”