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Benchmarks of Value – May 22, 2013

May 22, 2013

Hello everybody:

“Tribute to the Physician,” a limited-edition serigraph by world-renowned Israeli artist Raphael Abecassis, is a colorful whirlwind of images, many reflecting the duties and responsibilities of those who choose to care for others and bring healing to their lives. Beneath the images are these simple words: “The Mission to Cure. A Healthy Soul in a Healthy Body.”

A copy of this artwork adorns one of the walls near my office desk, and from time to time I find myself absorbed in its imagery, in the message its pictures communicates, and of course in the beautiful simplicity of its words, which so elegantly summarize what we’re trying to do here at WesternU.

I was reminded of “Tribute to the Physician” again last week, though not while sitting in my office, but on the stage at Pasadena Civic Auditorium. Over the course of three days and nine Commencement ceremonies, I saw the pictures and words in Abecassis’ artwork brought to life in the energy, enthusiasm, commitment, and caring of 932 new health professionals as they received their diplomas from our University.

Each and every Commencement is special, but this one was made even more so by the presence of inaugural classes of graduates from our colleges of Dental Medicine, Optometry and Podiatric Medicine. Their ceremony’s keynote speaker, actor and activist Edward James Olmos, urged the graduates to seek out those who need their care, not simply wait for the sick and needy to come to their door. “There will be some who cannot pay you. Treat them. … Pay it back by giving of yourself. We need saints out here in today’s world, more than ever,” Mr. Olmos said.

The actor and the artist are kindred spirits. Just as Abecassis’ images and call to action stir the soul, so too do Olmos’ words and deeds on behalf of those most in need, and his rallying cry to a new generation of healers. Their passion, and their message, was reflected in the eyes of every graduate who crossed the Civic Auditorium stage last week, filled with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, but also with the realization that their finest, hardest work is yet to come – providing care to all who seek it, and seeking cures that keep healthy souls in healthy bodies.

As always, I welcome your feedback on this topic and any others as we discuss WesternU’s Benchmarks of Value, and our plans. Please e-mail me with your thoughts at ppumerantz@westernu.edu, and feel free to share this message with your family and friends.

My best to you all,