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WVSOM honors employees, retirees at annual celebration

LEWISBURG, W.Va. – On the 161st anniversary of West Virginia’s entry into the union, the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) had a wild and wonderful celebration of its own — one that recognized some of the individuals who make the school a leader in medical education in the Mountain State and nationwide.

During the June 20 Employee Celebration, hosted by the school’s Office of Human Resources, WVSOM distributed 17 awards in five categories.

Leslie Bicksler, WVSOM’s chief human resources officer, praised those in attendance for their devotion to educating aspiring osteopathic physicians.

“This is a celebration of the contributions and accomplishments of so many of you,” Bicksler told employees. “Who we are as an institution and what we continue to accomplish is due to the dedication, hard work and commitment of our faculty, staff, board, alumni, students and the community that supports us. As a small institution, I’m constantly and consistently proud of all our employees.”

The event recognized nine new retirees: Michael Cochran, Carolyn Cox, Angela Hill, Barbara Holt, Ken Miller, Joyce Morris-Wiman, Ph.D., Tina Richmond, Barbara Sanders and Karen Sparks.

The President’s Outstanding Employee Award, given annually to individuals identified through a vote by WVSOM faculty and staff as outstanding employees for the current academic year, recognizes exceptional and dedicated service. Twelve employees were nominated. They were Richard Aleshire-Ramsey, Kristie Bridges, Ph.D., Douglas Brown, Courtney Eleazer, Ph.D., Kathy Hoke, Christopher Kennedy, D.O., Carrie Lawrence, Scott Maxwell, Donna Polk, Jennifer Seams, Dawn Thomas and Jill Trent. This year’s winners were Richard Aleshire-Ramsey, WVSOM’s assistant director of food services, and Carrie Lawrence, senior payroll coordinator in the Office of Business Affairs.

The President’s Outstanding Employee Award, given annually to individuals identified through a vote by WVSOM faculty and staff as outstanding employees for the current academic year, recognizes exceptional and dedicated service. This year’s winners were Richard Aleshire-Ramsey, WVSOM’s assistant director of food services, and Carrie Lawrence, senior payroll coordinator in the Office of Business Affairs. President James W. Nemitz, Ph.D., presented the award.

Linda Boyd, D.O., WVSOM’s chief academic officer, presented the President’s Outstanding Faculty Award to two faculty members, Irene Smail, Ph.D., and Christopher Wood, D.O. The award is presented each year to faculty members in recognition of their excellence in teaching and commitment to osteopathic medical education.

Linda Boyd, D.O., WVSOM’s chief academic officer, at left, and President James W. Nemitz, Ph.D., at right, presented the President’s Outstanding Faculty Award to two faculty members, Irene Smail, Ph.D., and Christopher Wood, D.O. The award is presented each year to faculty members in recognition of their excellence in teaching and commitment to osteopathic medical education.

The Living Our Mission Award recognizes WVSOM staff who exemplify professional excellence, an understanding of and commitment to WVSOM, and a commitment to achieving the school’s mission. This year’s winners were Douglas Brown, Paul Ciciora, Mara Davis, Traci Hoke, Carrie Lawrence, Eddie Miller, Richard Mines, Bren Pittsenbarger, Donna Polk, Jennifer Seams and Jamison Sizemore.

The Statewide Campus Pride Award recognizes an employee in one of WVSOM’s seven Statewide Campus regions who goes above and beyond in their service to WVSOM and the students they serve. Adrienne Tucker, director of the Central East Region of the Statewide Campus, was this year’s recipient.

The Rising Star Award honors a newly hired employee who has already demonstrated a strong commitment to the school, an understanding of how their position supports the school’s mission and a commitment to working with others to engage the school’s future. This year’s winner was Jamison Sizemore, assistant director of grounds in WVSOM’s Department of Institutional Facilities.

The celebration also recognized employees for years of service in five-year increments. In addition to recognizing a number of employees who reached milestones of service, the school recognized two employees who achieved 15 years of service as of June 2024, four who achieved 20 years of service and three who achieved 25 years of service. Jeffery Cobb, an audiovisual specialist, has worked at WVSOM for 30 years; and Barbara Sanders, a former lab resources supervisor, served the school for 35 years.

Bob Foster, D.O., a longtime faculty member and administrator who retired from WVSOM in 2023 after 45 years with the institution, was honored with professor emeritus distinction. The honor of emeritus is granted at retirement in recognition of meritorious service.

Jill Cochran, Ph.D., a faculty member in the school’s Department of Clinical Sciences, was promoted to professor, and Christopher Pankey, Ph.D., of the Department of Biomedical Sciences, was promoted to associate professor and granted tenure. Also granted tenure were Marina Diioia, Ph.D., vice chair of the school’s Department of Biomedical Sciences, and Dovenia Ponnoth, Ph.D., WVSOM’s associate dean for research and sponsored programs.

WVSOM currently employs 314 people.

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