BUIES CREEK — Aware that many of the 162 students who’ll make up the charter class of Campbell’s School of Osteopathic Medicine are savvy when it comes to social media, University President Jerry Wallace urged them to “tweet” a passage from the Bible that he said perfectly captured the spirit of Day 1 of orientation on Wednesday.
Psalm 118:24: “This is the day that the Lord hath made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
Just five days out from the beginning of med school classes in the new Leon Levine Hall of Medical Sciences, Wednesday marked the first of three days of orientation for the new class of students, many of whom are here from other states and time zones. When Campus Minister Rev. Faithe Beam delivered the invocation at 8:30 a.m. in one of the facility’s two large lecture halls, it was the first time all 162 students were under one roof (a spring orientation attracted about 100 a few months prior).
“I’m here to congratulate you on this seat that you’ve earned,” Wallace told the students. “You have been uniquely selected, and you’re part of something that can only happen once in the history of this medical school. You are the charter class.”
On Monday, they’ll become the first charter medical school class in North Carolina in 35 years; and when they graduate in 2017, Campbell will have the state’s second-largest medical school with graduates specifically trained to provide community-based primary health care in a state that ranks in the bottom-half in the nation in the number of primary care physicians.
But before everything becomes official on Monday, this week’s orientation is preparing the students by introducing them to not only each other, but the faculty (who are also new to Campbell) and the 96,500-square-foot facility they’ll be calling “home” over the next four years. The class was also introduced to student life and some of the traditions of Campbell University, learned about the physician assistant program and the students they’ll be working alongside in the coming years and by day’s end, received their scrubs, IDs, parking decals and other necessities.
Much of Thursday will be dedicated to the history of osteopathic medicine and an overview of the simulation labs and technology resources in Levine Hall, and Friday the students will work together on a service project. In between sessions, the students are being treated to short introductory video clips shot by each class member over the summer.
A few hours into the first day of orientation, Ashley Duzik, a graduate of Azusa Pacific near Los Angeles, said she was impressed with her new school and with how smoothly everything was going.
“You wouldn’t know it was their first time doing this,” said Duzik, who said the excitement of a new program was one of the things that drew her to Campbell from the other end of the country. “It’s exciting to have the opportunity to help shape the reputation of a school like this,” she added. “That’s a really rare opportunity.”
Briana Promutico, a graduate of Loyola University and native of Reading, Pa., said there was a “great energy” to Wednesday’s orientation.
“It already has a family feel here,” she said. “Everything so far has been very well prepared and both exhilarating and motivating.”
Dr. John Kauffman, the medical school’s founding dean, added to Wallace’s remarks about the uniqueness of the charter class, calling them “pioneers.”
“You are one of 3,800 people who applied to be part of this first class,” Kauffman said. “You are one of 477 students we interviewed. And you are one of 162 students chosen to be here today.”
By 2016, Campbell will enroll about 600 total medical students. They will spend the first two years learning at the Campbell University campus before being assigned to training opportunities in regional community hospitals, including WakeMed, Cape Fear Valley Medical Center and Southeastern Regional Medical Center.
By Billy Liggett