LEWISBURG (WVDN) – When West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) President James W. Nemitz, Ph.D., learned that the 50th anniversary of the school’s founding was this year, he was surprised to find out that a Founder’s Day had never been celebrated before.
With that, Nemitz, who is the school’s seventh president, became the champion of the Golden Jubilee year. His usual job includes traveling to promote the school, and this year, he also was proclaiming the 50th year anniversary and the half century of accomplishments the school has to its credit.
Fundraising for school scholarship programs is also the president’s job, and he and his partner, Nancy Bulla, have hosted and personally contributed to the fundraising programs.
Possibly the most visual contribution is their commission of local wood artisan Timm Schleiff to create and sculpt a wooden plaque of the WVSOM school seal. This art is beautifully hung on the stairs within the Student Center on the WVSOM campus.
Bulla has also given some decorating touches to other places on campus. Her community spirit is very strong, and she graciously supports her partner’s responsibilities as school president.
In many ways, Nemitz is showing the students how to live by his actions on campus. He says a core element in student selection to attend the medical school is that “they have a service heart.” He means they should give in service to the communities where they also give medical care.
“Each fall, I speak directly to the students of the first- and second-year students, and we have a good rapport as I attend the various programs throughout the year. I do go to some classes — labs for anatomy are my specialty — but I also participate as often as possible in their service programs, like the Veterans Day dinner and Heart of the Holidays, where we collect gifts and money for gifts for underprivileged children at Christmas,” says Nemitz.
Nemitz has been an employee of WVSOM for 36 years. He came to Lewisburg to allow his first wife to be close to her family and her father, Dr. Eugene McClung. His father-in-law encouraged him to participate at the osteopathic school, and he found teaching was something he really enjoyed.
In 2018, he was selected as president after having filled a long list of faculty positions; he’s been along for much of the ride, as WVSOM has grown and evolved over the last half century. Today, WVSOM is the no. 1 medical school in West Virginia for providing primary care physicians.
Nemitz has personally led the band to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the school. Besides the plaque, he also is quite proud of a fabulous book of photos curated Pat Bauserman and Mary Claire Ickes showcasing the staff and students since the start of the school until today. This book is for sale at the student bookstore on campus or online through the WVSOM bookstore portal.
Another project that is part of the celebration is a time capsule. For this, Robin Schleiff constructed a brick pedestal along the outside of the Student Center that will mark the location for this “first 50 years” time capsule. The hope is that it will be raised every 25 years for enjoyment and for students, faculty and staff to add materials to the collection within it.
While Nemitz may not be leading WVSOM the next time the time capsule is raised, his influence and community service will be remembered.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.