“I blinked and 50+ years went by”: catch up with fellow DMU alumni at a virtual reunion

Not even a global pandemic and resulting safety precautions can weaken the bonds of friendship, camaraderie and medical-school survival among DMU graduates. The University will host a virtual reunion for the classes of 1981, 1980, 1971, 1970 and earlier years on May 26, 2021, from 3 to 5 p.m. CST.

“Holy guacamole. I blinked and 50+ years went by rapidly,” says Jim Watson, D.O.’70, a reunion ambassador for the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery (COMS) Class of 1970. “Since our reunion was cancelled last summer and is rescheduled virtually for this summer, I encourage you to save the date to reconnect and share our war stories over the years.”

Consider joining the virtual reunion and “maybe you can chat with your old anatomy lab partner, an old note-pool classmate or somebody you learned to how to ‘crunch,’” says Mark Schultz, D.O.’80, a reunion ambassador for his DMU class. 

The virtual reunion will feature recognition of the 2020 Alumni of the Year and DMU Medallion recipients and an update on the University from DMU President and CEO Angela Walker Franklin, Ph.D. Participants will then be invited to join breakout rooms for their class year. The span of those class years also will make for an engaging event. The classes of 1971 and earlier years attended DMU when it had different names and a location downtown; the Class of 1981 graduated just as the University had established two new colleges, the College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery and the College of Biological Sciences (later renamed the College of Health Sciences) at its current location on Grand Avenue.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been 40 years since we sat in those uncomfortable desks watching Dr. di Virgilio teaching us anatomy in ‘living chalk color’ on the blackboard, and listening to Dr. Rhonda Cooper projecting her whooping cough sounds so we would never forget,” recalls reunion ambassador Marty Jourden, D.O.’80. “I remember as your first-year class president how important it was to have enough beer, hot dogs and burgers at the picnics. As the student body president our second year, I remember everyone coming to me asking what we would do if the teachers went out on strike.

“So much time has gone by since our graduation in 1980,” Dr. Jourden adds. “I know some of our classmates are no longer with us. I hope to see some of you at our next reunion. Let’s hope for widespread vaccination, herd immunity and the ability to get together with friends.”

That’s a sentiment shared by Tad Jacobs, D.O.’81, reunion ambassador for his DMU class. He also notes the reunion will be an opportunity for alumni to get an update on the progress of DMU’s new campus in West Des Moines, anticipated to open in 2023.

“It’s hard to believe 40 years have passed since we were all together in the ‘Chapel.’ For some reason I have more memories of IHOP and the Duck Blind!” Dr. Jacobs says. “I am hoping you will join us for our virtual reunion in May. A group of us were on a Zoom gathering recently to view the new campus plans. It was great fun to reminisce and share stories about our time at COMS. It was also special to hear about the journey we have been on since. Stay well and join us in May if you can.”

Reunion Ambassador Richard Sarnwick, D.O.’81, recalls that students had their own study groups and the group that they “partied with.”

“However, we sure shared a lot of memories together,” he adds. “Some memories were good, some were bad. I do remember [President] Leonard Azneer speaking to us on our first day. He said, ‘’You’ve all made it, you will all become doctors.’ That was certainly hopeful…Anyway, here is hoping that you will choose to reconnect for our 40th class reunion. I would love to share some more memories with all of you.”

Register for the 2021 DMU virtual reunion today! Visit the DMU website or call 515-271-1463 for more information.

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