Reunion Reflections: Norman Rose “So many fond memories”

Des Moines University looks forward to hosting reunions May 23-25, 2018, for the classes of 1993, 1978, 1968 and earlier years. We invite class members to share their memories of their days as students at DMU, known previously as the University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences and the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery.

Reunion activities will include a special medallion ceremony for milestone reunion alumni, a campus picnic and tours and the 2018 Commencement Ceremony on Friday, May 25. All returning alumni are invited to march in the ceremony with their newest fellow alumni. Those who want to participate must order their cap and gown by March 30. For more information on all reunion activities, visit the reunion website or call Development and Alumni Relations at 515-271-1463.

It’s fitting that our first graduate to reflect on his upcoming reunion, is Norman Rose, D.O.’63, FACOS, FICS, who will serve as Grand Marshal at the 2018 Commencement Ceremony. This distinguished alumnus is a clinical professor of surgery at Nova Southeastern University, academic director of the general surgery residency at Larkin Community Hospital and clinical professor in the department of biomedical sciences at Larkin University. He is a Fellow and past president of the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons (ACOS), which honored him with its highest award, the Orel F. Martin Medal, for his outstanding career as an osteopathic surgeon, educator and leader.

Named Physician of the Year by the Iowa Osteopathic Medical Association, Dr. Rose also has been a leader and volunteer in the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), the AOA Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation, the American Cancer Society and the Journal of the AOA. The AOA recognized his service to the profession by naming him a “Guardian of the Profession.” He also is a Fellow of the International College of Surgeons.

Want to share your DMU memories or news of your life or career? Send a message to or call 515-271-1463.

What is most memorable to you about your time as a student?

There are so many fond memories of the four years at DMU. Certainly the dedication of the teaching staff was a big factor. I was fortunate enough to work closely with many of them. Dr. Byron Laycock gave me such a better understanding of what it was to become an osteopathic physician. It was his inspiration that subsequently I developed the Byron Laycock, D.O., Memorial Lecture for the annual IOMA convention. As president of IOMA, I was proud to give the first lecture.

Then there was Dr. Lloyd Ficke, who chaired the department of pathology. Since I had a strong background in histology, he offered me a job in my second year to be his lab assistant and help in the freshman lab teaching. That was my first teaching position at NSU in 1960. Hard to imagine that was 58 years ago.

Next on my list was Dr. William Hewitt, who was chairman of the department of pharmacology. Through him I learned about research and was able to conduct 2 funded research projects. The first was on renal-spleenal anastomosis. This I thoroughly enjoyed because it involved doing surgery on large animals trying to alter portal pressure. The second grant he helped me with was from the Academy of Cranial Manipulation. It goes without saying that the funding was much appreciated. That study proved that what was in Gray’s Anatomy was incorrect and that the cranial bones do not fuse when you reach 18. We documented movement in patients as old as 90.

Lastly, my thanks to Dean John Shumaker, primarily for accepting me with a three-year bachelor’s degree instead of the usual four-year degree. Second, for permitting me to start the school newspaper, which at the time was called The Pulse. The $25 a month I got paid to produce and edit The Pulse sure came in handy.

How would you characterize your classmates?

Wow, that is quite a question. I thought long and hard about it. What can I say? They were a wonderful group of people. Diverse in backgrounds and cultures. Fun to be with. They took me under their wing, so to speak, since I was the youngest in the class and not old enough to even get a beer in a basically dry state at the time. They honored me by electing me president of Sigma Sigma Phi (SSP) and Phi Sigma Gamma. Through SSP I was able to organize painting of the old Still Hospital. Being part of the yearbook staff gave me a better understanding of my classmates and their passion, as mine, for medicine. Unfortunately, almost half my class has already passed away, and I will dearly miss them and the lifelong memories I have of them.

Briefly describe your career/practice.

I have been truly blessed throughout my career and continue to be blessed to be so fortunate to still be teaching D.O. students at three of our schools, surgical residents and interns at Larkin Community Hospital. Since my graduation in 1963 I have maintained my enthusiasm for medicine. I loved doing surgery and had a great practice for many years in Des Moines, Iowa. I have chaired the department of surgery at DMU, Nova Southeastern University and Des Moines General Hospital. I served as president of IOMA and was the first editor and chief of the Hawkeye Osteopathic Journal.

The profession and my students have honored me in so many ways. Having my students dedicate their yearbook to me as their best teacher was an honor. Iowa honored me in several ways. Governor Terry Branstad placed me on the Iowa Board of Medical examiners; IOMA elected me as their president and also awarded me the Physician of the Year. The American College of Osteopathic Surgeons had me serve as a board member for 10 years and subsequently elected me president of the organization. Recently they honored me by awarding me the Orel F. Martin Award for service and education. This award is the highest award given by the ACOS. The AOA has named me Guardian of the Profession for my teaching of osteopathic philosophy.

I have been fortunate enough to continue my research efforts that started at the time I was at DMU and have subsequently published 20 papers. This year I am so grateful to DMU being named the Grand Marshal for its 2018 graduation, which I am looking forward to tremendously. I hope to continue teaching for as long as I can. I have been fortunate to be involved with the training of over 15,000 doctors of osteopathy, many interns and 84 surgeons at three different surgical residency programs.

Learn more about the Alumni Reunion.

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