More than 30 years have passed since John Lyman, M.D., (’80) left his research career at NASA to become part of the charter class at a brand new medical school
One of the greatest pleasures in my career in medicine was being a part of Wright State’s charter class. It’s been more than three decades since I decided to leave my career in research at NASA to pursue my dream in medicine, but I can remember my first year at Wright State as if it were yesterday. The school leadership—looking to create an inaugural class that was diverse—gathered together a bright and unique group of students.
I may not have known it in 1976, but later I found out that I—along with a poet, a mailman, a Vietnam helicopter pilot, and a homemaker, to name a few—was chosen by Wright State to bring maturity and experience to the group that would also be made up of students fresh out of undergrad school. Despite our different backgrounds, we instantly blended together, and we benefited from the diversity and richness that others brought through their experience.
I believe it is only in retrospect that I truly appreciated the education I received and fully understand the monumental task of creating a medical school. There is no doubt the foundation that was laid and the advantages received from being part of a charter class readied me for the intense years that would follow in residency and full-time practice.
Wright State has been blessed with outstanding leadership since its inception. Dr. John Beljan, founding dean of the medical school, put together an administrative and academic staff that provided the guidance and leadership needed during those first few years.
Several guiding principles were developed in the school’s first few years, and I am proud to see that they have continued. The spirit of collaboration that was such an important part of Wright State’s foundation is still evident today. I feel this collaborative spirit as I walk around the campus today and participate in Wright State activities.
Service is another vital part of medical training that has continued. While my classmates may have come from very different walks of life, our devotion to service unified us. We all had a deeprooted desire to serve even though our views on what that looked like may have varied. I credit this spirit of service to the school’s admissions committee and applaud the members for making it such a high priority in the students it sought.
As a member of the admissions committee for more than 10 years, I have learned first hand that a service mentality remains a priority.
We knew Wright State’s future depended on our success as a founding class, and so we seemed to put extra emphasis on teamwork to make sure it happened. Innovative learning and intense immersion into the health care environment were just a few life-altering experiences that benefitted me at Wright State. We all would take those unique experiences with us into the health care field where opportunities—both within and without the United States— remain limitless. VS