Des Moines University hosted back-to-back events Dec. 9 to honor and thank individuals who’ve had an especially important impact on the University: past Alumni of the Year (AOTY) and leadership donors.
The reception honoring AOTY was a new event hosted by the DMU Alumni Board of Directors. The more than 30 attendees included the 2017 and earlier Alumni of the Year and many DMU leaders.
“Each and every one of you has played an important role in the quality education we provide,” DMU President Angela Walker Franklin, Ph.D., stated at the reception. “From your advocacy, to mentoring our students, to serving as preceptors, to providing financial support, your impact is immeasurable.”
Each year, the University selects one graduate of each of its three colleges for the AOTY honor. The 2017 AOTY are Shane McClinton, M.S.P.T.’01, D.P.T.’07, Ph.D., OCS, FAAOMPT, CSCS, a physical therapist at the DMU Clinic and assistant professor of physical therapy; Steven Grekin, D.O.’89, FAOCD, a dermatologist, founder of the Michigan-based Grekin Skin Institute and chief executive officer of the Bedside Medical Group; and Gage Caudell, D.P.M.’05, FACFAS, partner and owner of Fort Wayne Orthopedics in Fort Wayne, IN.
“These esteemed alumni are leaders in their professions and pave the way for DMU students through their career success and service to our alma mater,” said Sanford Zelnick, D.O.’80, the new president of the DMU Alumni Board of Directors and director of the Sumter County Health Department in Bushnell, FL.
Later that evening, approximately 125 guests joined the University in celebrating the impact of members of the DMU President’s Society, which honors individuals and organizations that make annual gifts of $1,000 or more, and members of the Founders Society, which honors donors with cumulative lifetime giving of $100,000 or more. In the past year, five individuals joined the Founders Society, bringing its total membership to 70.
“These donors truly are the founders of DMU’s future success,” said President Franklin.
A featured speaker at the event was second-year osteopathic medical student Neel Patel, who explained to the audience why he and his sister, fourth-year student Reeya Patel, selected DMU.
“Reeya had no reservations choosing DMU, knowing how highly it is recognized on a national level,” he said. “After seeing how happy she was with her decision, I knew that I wanted to keep our tradition alive and pursue my medical education at DMU, too.”
Neel highlighted some of DMU’s competitive advantages and its students’ academic achievements. He credited donors for that success.
“I am extremely DMU proud of the selfless, passionate and caring individuals in this room for investing in people like Reeya and me,” he added. “Because of your generosity, DMU continues to be a powerhouse for medical education. You are putting us on the map.”