Nearly 4,000 #SpartanDO graduates and loved ones tune in to virtual graduation


“Your hard work should and will be commended. Graduating during a global pandemic, while robbing you of the opportunity to celebrate in a more traditional fashion, also highlights and reinforces the absolute NEED for you, and your cohort, to be our shining light in the darkness of threats, both visible and invisible, to our collective health.” – Sam Wisniewski, M.S.

This was one of many messages of congratulations and encouragement from #SpartanDO faculty, staff and advisors for the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine Class of 2020 as part of their virtual graduation ceremony on Thursday, April 30, 2020.

The event, which was streamed online on WKAR Public Media, attracted over 1,100 live views and almost 4,000 views to date.

Following these heartfelt messages, Michael Morelli, Class of 2020 president, offered these words of advice to his classmates: “If we stop and accept the person we are when we fail, our journey ends. The most important step is the next step after you fail, after you fall…Remember your why, and have it give you the strength to take a step forward…the most important step.”

In lieu of walking across the stage, graduates and their loved ones celebrated with a virtual moment of recognition as each graduate’s name was announced with a slide displaying their photo, specialty, and any personal messages and favorite quotes he or she wanted included.

The virtual graduation also honored Laura Osaer with a posthumous degree and a moment of silence. Osaer passed away unexpectedly last year and was a well-loved classmate.

Dean Andrea Amalfitano concluded the ceremony by commending the Class of 2020 on its 99% residency match rate, which he described as “a testament that your education is both respected and desired by the statewide and national clinical and hospital systems you will now enter as medial residents.”

He then welcomed this new class of alumni to an existing network of over 7,000 alumni of the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine.

As the #SpartanDO Class of 2020 disperses to begin their residencies across Michigan, in 30 states and in Canada, the College of Osteopathic Medicine is optimistic about the future of the profession.

“Our profession and this college are both thriving – now one in four medical students in the U.S. now choose the option to enter an osteopathic medical school,” Amalfitano said. “We as a College of Osteopathic Medicine continue to have record numbers of applicants as well.”

The virtual graduation also was part of a week-long social media campaign to recognize the accomplishments of this excellent cohort, including a video message from Dean Amalfitano, a Facebook Album filled with photos of the Class of 2020’s time at MSU, and more. You can view the entire graduation here.