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May 13, 2005

SIU Med School to Graduate 67 New Physicians

Commencement exercises for the 31 st graduating class of Southern Illinois University School of Medicine will be held at noon Saturday, May 21. Sixty-seven physicians and one doctoral student will graduate during the ceremony, which is held in the Sangamon Auditorium at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Dr. Richard H. Moy, dean emeritus and founding dean of SIU School of Medicine, is the commencement speaker. Moy was named dean of SIU’s medical school in December 1969 and was then the country's youngest dean at age 38. Twenty-three years later when he retired, he was the senior ranking dean for the U.S. medical schools.

Moy brought new and even revolutionary ideas of how physicians could be better taught as he led SIU, one of the 20-some new medical schools started in the 1960s. Eventually, SIU became known nationally and internationally for its competency-based curriculum that uses new techniques like problem-based learning and simulated patients to teach its students.

Moy's national activities include many with the Association of American Medical Colleges and serving as the first chair of the composite committee for the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination, which restructured licensing for U.S. physicians. His contributions to Illinois include chairing the Emergency Medical Care Committee of the Governor's Task Force on Earthquake Preparedness and serving on agency task forces and boards including the Illinois Hospital Association, the Department of Public Health and Illinois Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

Moy earned bachelor's and medical degrees at the University of Chicago (UC). He was an associate professor of medicine and held several administrative UC posts before coming to SIU.

Lisa Hagrelius of Princeton, class chair, will deliver remarks on behalf of the graduates. SIU President James E. Walker, Ed.D., will participate in the program and Walter V. Wendler, Ph.D., SIUC Chancellor, will confer the degrees. Dr. Erik J. Constance, associate dean for student affairs, will present the medical students for degrees and Dr. J. Kevin Dorsey, Ph.D., dean and provost, will award their diplomas.

Morris D. Cooper, Ph.D., chair of medical microbiology, immunology and cell biology, will present the doctoral candidate and John A. Koropchak, Ph.D., vice chancellor for research and graduate dean for SIUC, will present her diploma.

The graduates have honored two of their teachers with roles during the ceremony. Constance will read the Hippocratic Oath and Dr. Tracy K. Lower, associate professor of pediatrics, will hood the graduates. The class previously honored J. Hurley Myers, Ph.D., now retired, as the Carbondale Teacher of the Year for his efforts their first year.

The Humanism in Medicine awards will be announced during the ceremony and presented to both a faculty member and graduating senior who "embody compassion and sensitivity in the delivery of care to patients and their family members."

Other faculty will be honored at the graduation reception Friday evening. Dr. Andrew J. Varney, associate professor of internal medicine, will receive the Golden Apple Award for outstanding teaching. The Alpha Omega Alpha Volunteer Faculty Award will be presented to Dr. Timothy Drake, a Springfield community physician and 1994 SIU graduate, who "generously donates time, skill and experience teaching students clinical skills."

During the ceremony, two graduates will receive the medical school’s distinguished alumni award. The award from the School's Alumni Society Board of Governors recognizes outstanding contributions to medicine and distinguished service to humankind. The 2005 recipients are Dr. Ronald L. Johnson, class of 1977, a Illinois family practitioner working in Pittsfield and Pike County since 1981, and Dr. Susan E. (Anderson) Swedo, class of 1980, associate director for child and adolescent research and chief of the developmental psychopathology and prevention research branch at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in Bethesda, Md. Johnson is originally from Hillsboro and Swedo is from Geneseo.*

The new SIU physicians will begin residency training in their chosen specialty fields in July. SIU School of Medicine is based in Carbondale and Springfield and is specifically oriented to educating new physicians prepared to practice in Illinois communities. Since 1975, 1,919 physicians, plus the new graduates in this class, have earned SIU medical degrees and two thirds are now practicing in primary care fields.


NOTE TO MEDIA: An interview time with Dr. Moy can be provided after the commencement ceremonies at about 1:45 p.m. (His address will occur at approximately 1 p.m.) Please confirm your interest in an interview with SIU Public Affairs in advance.

*A more detailed release about the distinguished alumni awards is available by emailing


thern Illinois University School of Medicine Office of Public Affairs News Releases P.O. Box 19621, Springfield IL 62794-9621, 217-545-2155