First-ever OUWB Alumni Homecoming & Reunion called ‘truly special’
An image of the group at OUWB's first homecoming event
OUWB alumni, along with Oakland University President Ora Hirsch Pecovitz, M.D., and Duane Mezwa, M.D., Stephan Sharf Dean, OUWB, at the first-ever OUWB Homecoming & Reunion.

The inaugural OUWB Alumni Homecoming & Reunion was held Oct. 22, drawing former students and current doctors together for a fun and festive evening of connection and reflection.

About two dozen OUWB alumni attended, along with their respective families and friends. Also on hand were several OUWB administrators, faculty, and staff, as well as Oakland University President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D.

The evening had a theme of Oktoberfest, complete with a duo that played German music as attendees enjoyed adult beverages and foods like schnitzel and German chocolate cake.

Jordan Nash, development associate, OUWB, said it makes sense for OUWB — with nearly 800 alumni including many who have completed residency — to start having such an event now.

“It was truly special to see so many OUWB alumni, faculty, and staff together for the first reunion in the school’s history,” he said.

Duane Mezwa, M.D., Stephan Sharf Dean, OUWB, welcomed everyone, and noted that it was a first-of-a-kind event for the school that he hopes will continue.

Mezwa also encouraged OUWB alumni to continue helping current and future medical students and to stay connected to the school’s growing community. He also acknowledged the important role alumni have in representing OUWB.

“As graduates, you know what the school is all about, you know that our values are more than just words,” he said. “Thank you for representing OUWB and taking an active role in our community.”

Pescovitz also addressed attendees, and said that OUWB played a big role in her decision to accept the position of president at Oakland University.

She credited Mezwa and OUWB Founding Dean Robert Folberg, M.D., for their “incredible leadership.”

“I know that I would want to have any member of my own family, and I myself, would want to be seen by any one of you as a physician,” she said.

 Pescovitz said she was “so very proud of each and every one” of OUWB’s alumni.

“Congratulations on what you’ve accomplished to date, but I cannot wait to see what you’re going to do in the future,” she said.

‘Excited to see everyone’

An image of OUWB alumni at the first-ever homecoming event
A group of students at the first-ever OUWB Homecoming & Reunion.

Michael Bonnette, M.D., ’15, currently is in private practice at Macomb Pain Management in Shelby Township, Michigan. He also is a member of the inaugural Dean’s Advisory Board at OUWB. He said he felt “pretty impressed” by the OUWB Alumni Homecoming & Reunion.

“It’s good to see a lot of people that I haven’t seen in a while,” he said. “We try to keep up with each other regularly, but it’s a lot of fun to get back together in person, reconnect, see where everyone’s at, and rekindle those relationships.”

Like Bonnette, Alison Thomas, M.D., ’20, didn’t have to travel too far to attend the event. She is currently a third-year OB-GYN resident at Corewell Health William Beaumont University Hospital.

“I really enjoyed my experience at OUWB,” she said. “It’s a small school so we have small classes and that really allowed us to get to know faculty and each other very well. I was excited to see everyone.”

Adrian Michel, M.D., ’19, shared similar thoughts. Michel currently is a primary care physician at Corewell Health.

“OUWB really is like a family,” he said. “I definitely enjoyed my four years…it was probably some of the best years of my life.”

Michel said that as a resident, he didn’t get to be as involved with OUWB as he would have liked.

“Now that I’m done with my training and have a little more free time, I want to get back into the OUWB community and see what I can do to be part of it and help out.”

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Rafey Rehman, M.D., ’22, also said OUWB felt like family to him, which is why he attended the event. Rehman currently is in the transitional year residency program for dermatology at Wayne State University School of Medicine.

“It’s great to see how far we’ve come,” he said. “It’s an incredible experience to see friends and colleagues, especially since I haven’t seen many in a while.”

Others shared similar feelings of excitement.

Patricia Checinski, M.D., ’18, recently completed an internal medicine residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, and currently is a first-year fellow in pulmonary and critical care medicine at Michigan Medicine.

“I was excited to see everyone,” she said. “Obviously, I wanted to see my classmates and how they’re doing, and I also wanted to see some of our teachers.”

Checinski and her husband were chatting with Jeff Cross, M.D., ‘18.

Currently, Cross is in his fifth year of residency in the orthopaedic surgery residency program at University of Toledo.

“It’s been a while and I miss the OUWB people,” he said. “I’m not too far away so I figured I would come in, see who’s here, and say hi.”

Nash said that with the success of the inaugural version, he’s already looking forward to next year.

“I’m so excited about the potential to grow this event,” he said. “I can’t wait to get everyone’s feedback and make next year’s reunion even better.”

For more information, contact Jordan Nash, development associate, at [email protected]. For more information about OUWB alumni-related programs, please visit the webpage found here.

To request an interview, visit the OUWB Communications & Marketing webpage.

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