Spring 2017 Class Begins Journey as Future Veterinarians at School of Veterinary Medicine White Coat Ceremony

At the Spring 2017 School of Veterinary Medicine White Coat Ceremony on January 28, the newest class of St. George’s University students donned their newly received white coats and collectively recited the Oath of Professional Commitment. Like the more than 1,200 veterinarian graduates of SGU had done before, they dedicated their professional future to the thorough and ethical care of animals.

“The White Coat Ceremony is one of my favorite events of the year, and I am thrilled and honored to be here to share this day with you,” enthused keynote speaker Douglas A. Freeman, Professor and Dean of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Canada. “The White Coat Ceremony is our opportunity to formally induct you into the profession and to welcome you as colleagues into the amazing and wonderful veterinary medicine community.

“This profession has evolved from farm animal care, to equine care to small animal care, and you too must be resilient as you evolve throughout your veterinary medical career,” advised Dr. Freeman. “There are many jobs available in the veterinary profession, from academia and research to the military and industry. You may try a lot of different things. You don’t have to choose just one path. So as you embark on your journey of lifelong discovery, I wish you great success.”

Alumnus and Master of Ceremonies Heather Douglas, DVM SGU ‘06, knew exactly how the matriculating class felt as first-term students, and counseled them to make the most of the opportunity to study at SGU. Dr. Douglas is now the owner and veterinarian at Douglas Animal Hospital in Osseo, Minnesota. She said that, through the commitment of her professors, colleagues, and the welcoming community, she gained invaluable opportunities and a deep-rooted love for the Spice Isle.

“Being in Grenada and attending this University gave me a wonderful opportunity, and I feel I am successful in my career in veterinary medicine because of SGU,” shared Dr. Douglas, President of Douglas Animal Hospital and Visiting Professor at St. George’s University. “You too have everything you could possibly need right here to become a successful veterinarian.”

Attending his first-ever School of Veterinary Medicine White Coat Ceremony was Dr. Joseph Childers, recently appointed Provost of St. George’s University. He welcomed and congratulated the students on this next step they were about to take and, although not a veterinarian himself, connected with the students through his area of expertise—literature.

“Some of the greatest literature that was ever produced—works by Anna Sewell, George Orwell, and Jack London—are actually written by the point of view of an animal,” Dr. Childers said. “This was emblematic of who we are as human beings and our connection to the animal world. We are absolutely dependent on our animals, and who will speak for them, who will communicate with them?

“I recognize the importance of seeking an MD and the importance of what people do as medical doctors but they have a distinct advantage, they are able to communicate directly with their patients,” added Dr. Childers. “ You are called to something a little bit higher, a little bit more noble and I think in many ways much more self less. You’re advocating for creatures that cannot advocate for themselves, the creatures that we depend on. You have a double responsibility to not only deliver that kind of care and compassion but also to be those advocates. I think this speaks to the core of humanity and I congratulate you on your choice and I welcome you to St. George’s University. “

Dr. Chadd Tindall, an alumnus from the very first class of the School of Veterinary Medicine in 1999 and currently the Director of the SVM Office of Career Guidance, attended the ceremony. In addition, Dr. Austin Kirwan, Assistant Dean of UK Affairs in the School of Veterinary Medicine, who took the opportunity to robe his son, Elliot, now a first-term veterinary student.

“It was a fantastic experience. It was a long journey to actually get where you are and you would never believe that your child would be following so closely in your own footsteps but I think it brings home what SGU is actually all about,” Dr. Kirwan said afterward. “We are one family, it’s one nation, it’s one health, it’s one medicine, and it’s an absolute privilege. I graduated on that stage with my MBA from SGU and I’ve introduced my son to the veterinary faculty and school on that same stage, so it was a fantastic moment.”

The School of Veterinary Medicine accepted its first class in August of 1999, followed six years later by the installation of the first international chapter of Phi Zeta National Veterinary Honor Society on campus, the Alpha Delta Chapter. In September 2011, the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education announced its full accreditation of the St. George’s University Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program for seven years. Five years later, in October 2016, the American Animal Hospital Association gave its stamp of approval, accrediting the SVM Small Animal Clinic for two years, making it only the second practice outside of the US and Canada to earn the distinction.

St. George’s University Welcomes Newest Class of Future Doctors at Spring 2017 School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony

An ocean away and in a two-week span, the Spring 2017 class of St. George’s University took their Oath of Professional Commitment, the first step in their journey to becoming physicians, at the School of Medicine White Coat Ceremonies in the United Kingdom and Grenada.

Students in the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program ushered in the spring term with a ceremony held at Domain Hall on the campus of Northumbria University on January 13. They will spend their first year of Basic Sciences in the UK before joining the Grenada class in Spring 2018.

Delivering a touching keynote address to this year’s entering class was Dr. Gerard Corcoran, recently retired Lead Clinician for Cancer Services at Aintree University Hospitals in the UK. He reflected on the growth of SGU, having arrived in Grenada in 1979 and working one year in the General Hospital and at St. George’s University School of Medicine.

“Back then as a young 28-year-old, many of the students at St. George’s were my age and I was really impressed by all of their varied backgrounds,” Dr. Corcoran said. “Some had previous occupations, others had military experience, some had not studied sciences and others had endured quite a lot of hardship before coming here. But rather than looking at this as a disadvantage and a roadblock to their progress, I actually think that, for the future doctor, this different life experience was an advantage and not only for themselves but for our profession. It has been delightful for me to watch the University flourish over the years, and so in this its 40th year, I hope the Class of 2017 will continue to prosper.”

“Please take an interest in each other and share your experiences,” he added. “While in Grenada try to gain some insight on what it means to provide healthcare in a low resource country. And, never forget that universal access to health care is something that still has not been attained. There is a worldwide shortage of primary care physicians and also health professionals and SGU is to be commended for its efforts in trying to offer up opportunities for people from different countries to train here to become doctors.”

Also present at the ceremony was the Honorable Mr. Nickolas Steele, Minister for Health and Social Security. He welcomed the newly enrolled medical students and congratulated them on their choice of such an admirable profession. The Minister implored the students not only to work hard to acquire their degree but to also take the opportunity to make a difference to Grenada because their time spent in the Spice Isle will surely make a difference to them.

In Grenada, students and their friends and families filled Patrick F. Adams Hall for the School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony on January 27. Dr. Bruce Bonanno, MD SGU ’83, a member of the fifth entering class at SGU, served as the evening’s master of ceremonies. In addition to his professional career as an emergency medicine physician at CentraState Medical Center in Freehold, NJ, Dr. Bonanno has a second career as a media personality. He hosted a 30-minute medical television show and was the Chief Medical Consultant for a New Jersey station for more than 10 years.

As an alum, his involvement with SGU has included interviewing candidates for admission, teaching students and residents, and becoming re-involved with the SGUSOM Alumni Association two years ago when he was elected President. He arrived in Grenada 38 years earlier, and never ceases to be amazed at the development of both the country and his alma mater.

“Although many things have changed since I was a student at SGU, one thing has remained constant and that is you, the students,” said Dr. Bonanno. “We all arrive here with a chip on our shoulder because of those that said we couldn’t do it. But I’m here to show you that you can do it and you will do it.”

The School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony has coincided for the sixth straight term with Beyond Spice Family Weekend at SGU. Students’ family members enjoy a fun-filled weekend of activities, exploring Grenada’s rich cultural heritage and getting a taste of life at SGU before attending the special ceremony, which serves as an affirmation of commitment to their studies and marks the beginning of their medical career.

St. George’s University Celebrates 40 Years of Excellence in International Education

St. George’s University’s highly anticipated 40th anniversary celebration kicked off with a weekend of festivities for which all those who helped author its incredible story—everyone from the faculty and staff to its more than 17,000 graduates — were invited.

SGU’s impact on health care, veterinary medicine, business, and many other fields has been felt both near and far. Close to home, SGU hasplayed and continues to play a large role in transforming the country of Grenada. In addition to contributing millions of dollars to the country’s economy, it is also one of the largest employers of Grenadians on the island, second only to the Government of Grenada. Similarly, SGU is also responsible for transforming education in the region, offering a tertiary education opportunity that has resulted in 1,200 Grenadian alumni, with more than 200 MDs.

Beyond the Isle of Spice, St. George’s University has graduated more than 14,000 physicians and over 1,200 veterinarians, helping to address doctor shortages in the United States, Canada, and around the world.

Dr. G. Richard Olds, who hopes to continue that proud tradition as the University’s inaugural President, welcomed family, friends, and colleagues to a special investiture ceremony at Patrick F. Adams Hall during kickoff weekend. Attendees included Grenada’s Governor General, Dame Cecile La Grenade, Prime Minister Dr. the Right Honorable Keith Mitchell, Baroness Howells of St. David’s, founding members of SGU, parliamentarians, and diplomats. They included Dr. Timothy White, Chancellor, California State University, who delivered the evening’s keynote address, expressing that, in Dr. Olds, SGU had chosen the right person to lead it into the future.

With more than 70 percent of SGU doctors having gone on to practice primary care, many in areas of need, during his address, Dr. Olds reinforced his and the University’s commitment to addressing the primary care shortage and maldistribution of doctors in the US and worldwide.

“I feel privileged to lead St. George’s University at a time when we are doing more than ever to address the shortage of doctors worldwide,” Dr. Olds said. “Our graduates are fulfilling SGU’s mission to shape the future of our world – especially in communities worldwide that most need quality health care.”

SGU also welcomed back members of its charter class who started class at St. George’s University School of Medicine on January 17, 1977. They joined longtime administrators, faculty, and staff, including retired bus driver, Whitley Courtney, the University’s first-ever employee, at a special Founders Dinner in L’Anse aux Epines hosted by Chancellor Charles R. Modica, one of four of SGU’s founders. Other events included a Charity 5K Fun Run, for which more than 100 runners raced from Founders Library to the Grand Anse campus, tours of the True Blue campus, and a library archive exhibition.

Kickoff weekend festivities were punctuated by a Parade of Nations, for which more than 1,000 students, faculty, and staff celebrated SGU’s cultural diversity. In its 40 years, the University has welcomed individuals from more than 140 countries, and to celebrate, parade participants wore their national colors and waved flags of their native countries on their way through lower campus.

 

Kickoff weekend was only the beginning to a yearlong celebration of SGU’s 40 years. For more information and to register, visit www.sgu.edu/beyond40.

St. George’s University Formally Invests Dr. G. Richard Olds as President

Yesterday, St. George’s University formally marked Dr. G. Richard Olds’s appointment as President in an investiture ceremony, a highlight of the university’s 40th anniversary celebration.

“I feel privileged to lead St. George’s at a time when we are doing more than ever to address the shortage of doctors worldwide,” Olds said. “Our graduates are fulfilling St. George’s mission to shape the future of our world — especially in communities worldwide that most need quality health care.”

Co-founder Patrick F. Adams, Baroness Howells of St. Davids, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, Founding Chancellor Dr. Charles R. Modica, President & CEO Dr. G. Richard Olds, and California State University Chancellor Dr. Timothy White.

Investiture is a centuries-old academic tradition wherein a new university president receives the symbols of the office. Dr. Olds was appointed President of St. George’s in August 2015.

The Chancellor of the California State University system, Dr. Timothy White, also spoke during the investiture ceremony. He applauded St. George’s for expanding access to medical education among historically underrepresented minorities and recruiting a geographically, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse student body.

Dr. White was previously chancellor of the University of California, Riverside, where he worked with Dr. Olds to establish the university’s School of Medicine, the first LCME-accredited medical school in California in more than four decades. As its founding dean, Dr. Olds focused on addressing the shortage of primary care physicians in the school’s backyard, California’s Inland Empire, where there are only 120 physicians per 100,000 people. That’s 38 percent fewer than the state average.

Dr. Olds has carried that same passion for serving the needy to St. George’s, which is already the largest provider of new doctors to the U.S. healthcare system. Under Dr. Olds’s leadership, St. George’s has expanded several scholarship initiatives that encourage students to work in underserved areas, including the CityDoctors program and the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program.

“Over our next 40 years and beyond, St. George’s will continue to expand opportunity to more students from geographically, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse backgrounds — because they are the ones who will make a difference,” said Dr. Olds. “Whether they’re filling the global need for high-quality providers of primary care or solving public health crises, I am excited to see the impact that our students will have on the world.”

Published on 1/16/17

St. George’s University Adds Borrego Health to Clinical Network

St. George’s University’s network of clinical affiliates recently welcomed Borrego Community Health Foundation (BCHF), a non-profit Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) based in southern California. Starting in 2017, SGU clinical students can complete their family medicine rotations at the Cathedral City Health Center in Cathedral City, California. Borrego Health joins a family of more than […]

SAS Alum Outlines Coral Reef Restoration Program During Prince Harry Visit to Grenada

An alumnus of St. George’s University School of Arts and Sciences was part of a day-long welcoming party for Prince Henry of Wales – Prince Harry – during his visit to Grenada on November 28.

For a glass-bottomed boat tour in Grand Anse Bay, His Royal Highness was accompanied by Kerricia Hobson, BSc SGU ’08, Project Manager in the Environment Division in Grenada’s Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development, and the Environment. One of few individuals aboard the charter boat, Ms. Hobson explained the Grenada Coastal Ecosystem-Based Adaptation (EBA) Project, which is designed to reinforce deteriorating reef structures in Grenada and Carriacou through the creation and maintenance of coral nurseries.

She and Prince Harry observed five of the program’s divers, or “gardeners,” assess and clean the nurseries, tasks that will have many long-term environmental and sociological benefits to Grenada.

“Prince Harry was impressed and pledged to be a voice to help raise awareness about the importance of coral reefs,” Ms. Hobson said. “Coral reefs produce the sand on our beautiful beaches, and they’re also important for our tourism and fisheries industries. To restore them, coastal ecosystems have proven to be less costly to implement and a better fit than hard infrastructures such as seawalls.”

The EBA program is run jointly with the Government of Grenada and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and is the first such project in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS). Since the program’s launch last year, EBA Project personnel, including another SGU grad, Leyana Romain, BSc SGU ’14, have constructed and overseen two nurseries off the coasts of Grenada and Carriacou. As a result of their efforts, nearly 2,000 reef fragments have matured and been installed on existing structures. Ms. Hobson and Ms. Romain are seeking additional funding that will allow them to reach their goal of planting upward of 10,000 fragments in the next 3-5 years.

Following his visit, His Royal Highness left a note that read, “Globally, 75% of coral reefs are under threat from overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution and acidification of the sea due to climate change. It is fantastic to see Grenada doing their bit for their surrounding ocean and coral reefs. We must protect the things that give us so much.”

Ms. Hobson described her conversation with Prince Harry as surreal. “He asked a number of questions and showed that he’s knowledgeable about our work and the issue of coastal preservation,” Ms. Hobson said. “For a while, I forgot that I was talking to His Royal Highness. He didn’t act like he was royalty; he acted like a person who was genuinely interested in the work we were doing.”

Jason Roberts, awarded an honorary doctorate from SGU in May 2016, meets with Prince Harry at Queens Park, Grenada.

Jason Roberts, awarded an honorary doctorate from SGU in May 2016, meets with Prince Harry at Queens Park, Grenada.

Prince Harry represented Queen Elizabeth II in his visit to Grenada, which included a royal welcome at Maurice Bishop International Airport, as well as sporting events at Queens Park Grounds. Prince Harry visited with members of the Jason Roberts Foundation, who launched the Youth in Action initiative to help improve the wellbeing and lifestyle of Grenada youth. Mr. Roberts, a former Premier League and Grenada National Team football player, was honored with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by SGU’s School of Graduate Studies in May 2016 for his longtime work on behalf of disabled children in Grenada through the Foundation.

Prince Harry’s visit was part of a 15-day tour of the Caribbean that also included stops in Antigua, Barbados, Barbuda, Guyana, Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Published 12/6/2016

St. George’s University SVM Dean Named to AAVMC Board

The Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) has named Dr. Timothy Ogilvie, St. George’s University’s Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine, to its Board of Directors and Governance. Dr. Ogilvie will serve as Region IV At-Large Director, representing  AVMA Council on Education-accredited veterinary medical schools in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Europe.

Dr. Tim Ogilvie“I take great pride in representing these schools, especially SGU,” said Dr. Ogilvie. “I am honored to be selected. It’s a great opportunity for me to encourage programming at AAVMC that builds upon our strengths and that our members can take advantage of. It’s also very valuable for a Dean to get exposed to new ideas and to work with colleagues who can lend their support when facing various challenges.”

The AAVMC was formed in 1966 by the deans of the 18 US and three Canadian veterinary colleges to promote and protect the health and welfare of animals, people and the environment by generating new knowledge and preparing the high-quality veterinary workforce needed to meet continually changing societal demands for veterinary expertise.

Today, the AAVMC coordinates the affairs of all 30 US veterinary medical colleges, all five Canadian colleges of veterinary medicine, eight US departments of veterinary science, eight US departments of comparative medicine, eight international veterinary schools, three veterinary medical education organizations, and four affiliate international veterinary schools. The association represents more than 4,000 faculty, 5,000 staff, 10,000 veterinary students, and 3,000 graduate students at these institutions.

“This appointment not only helps to build SGU’s brand, credibility, and reputation; it also allows me to help in making sure that the AAVMC, as an organization for the colleges of veterinary medicine, continues to think about students first,” stated Dr. Ogilvie. “Our colleges are training grounds for veterinary medical students so it has to be a student-centered program that we deliver. We must ensure that we think of the deeper mission of education.

“One of the goals of the AAVMC is to help promote wider accreditation,” he added. “Today, we are on the cusp of getting more global standards in place. We at SGU are positioned to understand well the international competencies for veterinarians, and this allows me to continue to push the agenda forward for quality assessment and quality assurances for the provision of educational programs for veterinary students.”

Dr. Ogilvie was appointed Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine in 2014 after spending six years as a Visiting Professor in the SVM. For his career, he was a founding faculty member of Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) following his appointment as the Director of the Animal Industry Services branch within the Prince Edward Island Department of Agriculture and Forestry. Dr. Ogilvie later served as Chair of the AVC’s Department of Health Management (1990-1998) and Acting Dean (1998-1999), while also co-directing AVC’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital. The AVC Vet Camp was renamed the Dr. Tim Ogilvie AVC Vet Camp in 2009 and recently was acknowledged by the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education as the best community outreach program in the country.

Published on 11/29/16

St. George’s University and Botswana Demonstrate Commitment to Reducing the Medical Brain Drain

Medical Doctors, Doctors of Veterinary Medicine and Public Health Graduates Celebrated at Gaborone Ceremony

Thirty-five Batswana graduates from St George’s University, the centre of international education on the Caribbean island of Grenada, will celebrate their achievement at the commencement ceremony on Saturday, 19 November at the Botswana TraveLodge in the country’s capital city.

botswana

This is the second time that such a graduation ceremony has been held outside the United States in the 40 year history of St George’s University. The first occasion was in 2012, also in Gaborone. The Batswana students have graduated from St George’s University schools of medicine, veterinary medicine, and the graduate studies programme.

“We are very pleased to be honouring the hard work of these graduates and now expect them to make a major contribution to medical and other professional services in their own country”, commented Dr G Richard Olds, the President and Chief Executive Officer of St George’s University.

“We have had a long and successful relationship with the University of Botswana’s medical school and with the Ministries of Education and Health. With four doctors for every 10,000 people in Botswana, it is vital that the medical doctor graduates in particular help to redress the brain drain which has resulted in 800 Batswana doctors working overseas or outside their own country”.

Dr Olds pointed out that Botswana had graduated more MD students through St George’s University than any African country, apart from Nigeria. “Botswana and St George’s University have produced 97 MD graduates, with 22 students still working for their degrees at our university”, he added. “We believe that Botswana has the potential to become a major medical hub for the region”.

The commencement ceremony held later this month will celebrate the entrance of the Batswana graduands into the country’s workforce and honour St George’s University’s Batswana alumni who are already working towards better health care delivery in Botswana. It will also acknowledge the strong relationship between St George’s University and the government, partner institutions and the people of Botswana.

Published on 11/18/16

Professor Ian McConnell Delivers Annual Keith B. Taylor Memorial/WINDREF Lecture at St. George’s University

Professor Ian McConnell, most recognized for his fundamental discoveries on the immune system, drew upon his distinguished career in research while delivering the Keith B. Taylor Memorial/WINDREF Lecture at Bourne Hall on November 8. His address, titled “One Health: Successes and Opportunities,” focused on the immunology of infectious diseases of both animals and man, and was delivered to an audience of more than 1,100 faculty, staff, community members, and online viewers.

ian-mcconnell-lecture

Dr. McConnell is an Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Science and Director of Research at the University of Cambridge, England. One Health has been a theme of his extensive research and teaching, with particular emphasis on zoonotic diseases and genetic diseases of animals that have parallels with genetic diseases in man. In particular, his work is currently focused on the scientific basis of infectious diseases of animals and man and how they impact public health at a global level.

“One Health is a concept that has had a long history in both medical and veterinary science,” said Dr. McConnell. “It is an important and defining concept which recognizes the interconnectedness between medicine, veterinary medicine, epidemiology, and the biomedical and biological sciences. Public health, environmental health, and biodiversity all play in to the issues and concerns affecting the health of animals and man.”

ian-mcconnell-lectureAlthough One Health is a broad subject that covers many areas in veterinary medicine, human medicine, and biological sciences, Dr. McConnell chose to focus his lecture on two areas: global infectious diseases and comparative medicine. He used the examples of the eradication of rinderpest and rabies in animals in Europe to illustrate the successes and opportunities for One Health in global infectious diseases. For comparative medicine, he discussed the opportunities for translational research in man based on the repair of spinal cord injuries in dogs.

In addition to his professorship, Dr. McConnell is a Founder Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, the UKs foremost Academy of medical science. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE), and was elected to Fellowships of the Royal Society of Medicine, and Royal College of Pathologists’ on scientific merit. He is a Professorial Fellow in Veterinary Science of Darwin College Cambridge.

After he graduated in veterinary medicine from the University of Glasgow and in Natural Sciences (Pathology) from the University of Cambridge, he carried out his doctoral studies (PhD) in immunology in the laboratory of Professor Robin Coombs, one of the founding fathers of immunology, in the Department of Pathology at Cambridge. Professor McConnell also gave the 13th Annual Geoffrey H. Bourne Memorial Lecture at St. George’s University in 2007.

The Annual WINDREF and Keith B. Taylor Memorial Lecture, named after SGU’s second Vice Chancellor, has drawn the attention of numerous renowned presenters willing to share their expertise on topics such as climate change, health needs, and drug abuse and addictions. Past speakers at the lecture have included Dr. Robert C. Gallo, Director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, best known for his role in the discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and Dr. Valentin Fuster, a renowned cardiologist who presented on the topic, “The Worldwide Challenge of Cardiovascular Disease.”

Published on 11/15/16

St. George’s University Provost Feels Right at Home

The new Provost at St. George’s University, Dr. Joseph Childers has received a warm Grenadian welcome upon his arrival. Although he is new to the island, the feeling he has is a familiar one.

childers-joseph“This has been very much like coming home for me,” Dr. Childers said. “Grenadian culture is, in many ways, similar to the Southern culture I grew up in. There is a certain friendliness, courtesy, and slight formality that everyone possesses. Grenadians also have an incredible joyousness – they love to laugh. I’ve found them to be upbeat, resilient, and proud, traits I very much recognize and respect.”

Appointed Provost in October 2016, Dr. Childers will oversee the University’s academic units, academic centers and initiatives, and student services, providing leadership for the planning, development, implementation, assessment, and improvement of all academic programs, policies, and supporting infrastructure for the Grenada campus. He assumed the Provost role from Allen Pensick, who has spent more than 30 years at SGU, including as Provost from 2004 to 2016. Dr. Pensick has stayed on as Provost Emeritus, assisting Dr. Childers with his transition.

“Dr. Pensick has been an invaluable resource,” Dr. Childers said. “He’s so well liked, so well respected, and is such a major part of the University’s history. In addition to being a gracious mentor, he’s a great person. I couldn’t have asked for better.”

Dr. Childers came to SGU after serving as Dean of the Graduate Division at University of California, Riverside (UCR) for eight years. During that time, UCR witnessed increases in graduate student diversity and student success, garnering national attention as an institutional model and for best practices.

“Having purview over an entire campus was instrumental in helping me get a sense of the specific issues facing different departments and disciplines,” Dr. Childers said. “Also, because I have taught at all levels, from freshmen to advanced graduate students and even faculty, I have learned to be mindful about how to present and to ensure that people come away with an understanding of the material. It is paramount that the audience feels the environment is safe for asking questions and communicating.”

At UCR, he worked alongside G. Richard Olds, then the Founding Dean of its School of Medicine and the current President and Chief Executive Officer at SGU. Together they helped create one of the US’s most diverse campuses, a trait it shares with SGU, which has drawn students from more than 140 countries.

“You cannot over value the importance of diversity on any campus,” Dr. Childers said. “If you’re always seeing and dealing with people just like yourself, you’re effectively living in a cocoon. It’s important to be able to deal with difference, to see the world from alternate perspectives, and to respect other cultures, especially if you’re going into a profession that demands that kind of open-mindedness and curiosity.”

The oldest of five children, Dr. Childers was born in north central Indiana but as an infant moved with his family to Bentonville, Arkansas, a farming community on the Missouri and Oklahoma border. He earned his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from the University of Arkansas, and went on to obtain his Master of Philosophy and Doctor of Philosophy from Columbia University.

He then joined UCR as a Professor of English, a position he held for more than 25 years. Dr. Childers has also authored two books, co-edited two others, and published numerous articles and essays on a wide variety of topics. In addition to bringing his expertise and leadership to SGU, he is joined by his wife, Dr. Karen Pyke, a well known sociologist who is a visiting professor in the School of Arts and Sciences and who is consulting on the formation of an ombuds office for the campus.

In a short time, Dr. Childers has settled in at SGU, and he looks forward to using his background as an administrator and educator to create policies, procedures, and efficiencies that contribute to its development, both regionally and worldwide.

“Before it came on the radar for me as potential opportunity, I knew it was well respected for its medical education, but I didn’t know just how large of a role it has in the Caribbean,” Dr. Childers said. “St. George’s University is in position to become a comprehensive and truly premier international university. We are moving in that direction, and I’m tremendously excited to be a part of the University’s advancement.”

Published on 11/14/16