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The Commonwealth Medical College Officially Welcomes Charter Class of 2013 at Convocation Ceremony

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Recipient of First Award of Honorary Degree announced

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Scranton, Pennsylvania – Officials of The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC) and community leaders welcomed the charter class of first-year medical students and their families at an inaugural Convocation ceremony on Sunday, August 16, 2020 at the Mellow Theater at Lackawanna College in Scranton. This special occasion marked the establishment of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s only allopathic medical school in thirty years. Sixty-five medical students in the historical class of 2013 celebrated the start of their study of medicine and their role as future physicians with a traditional academic regalia procession and ceremonial Oath signing. 
“This inaugural occasion begins a four-year journey learning the skill and art of what it means to be a physician,” stated Robert D’ Alessandri, MD, President and Founding Dean of The Commonwealth Medical College.  “It also allows us to honor individuals who have played a key role in the College’s concept, direction and implementation,” he added.
The inaugural convocation marked the presentation of The Commonwealth Medical College’s First Award of an Honorary Degree.  Presented to Senator Robert J. Mellow (D), District 22, this honorary degree is the highest award conferred by the TCMC Board of Trustees.  “A true advocate for the people of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Senator Bob Mellow realized the need to reach out and involve community leaders in the region and played a significant role in the establishment of region’s first medical college,” stated Robert Wright, MD, Chair, TCMC Board of Trustees. This degree is awarded to recognize individuals who have made outstanding achievements and contributions to TCMC or to healthcare. “Senator Mellow’s tireless efforts, dedication and unwavering support played a huge role in making today possible,” Dr. Wright continued. 

“I am delighted to be here today to witness this historic occasion. The men and women taking this oath today are going to have an enormous impact on the health care in this region. They are smart, talented and dedicated and I am so glad we have been able to provide them a place to continue their education in northeastern Pennsylvania. The faculty we have been able to attract are not only going to improve access to care but help change the economic climate in the region. This is a day we have long awaited, ” said Senator Mellow.

Other ceremonial highlights included the first recipients of the President’s Distinguished Service Awards.  The award was created to recognize those individuals who have made a difference for TCMC through outstanding support and important contributions to the establishment and growth of The Commonwealth Medical College. The first award was presented to Denise Cesare, CEO of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania. “Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania had a vision, and their citizenship and caring about the future of the region was reflected in their generous investment and funding in the College’s start up and construction of the new medical sciences building,” stated Dr. D’ Alessandri.

The second award for distinguished service was presented to Robert, Wright, MD, Chair, TCMC Board of Trustees and founder of the Scranton Temple Residency Program in internal medicine.  “Developing the residency program was the predecessor to TCMC and we are grateful to Dr. Wright’s insight and understanding of the need to develop a medical college in this region,” Dr. D’ Alessandri continued. 

The final award was given to Robert Naismith, PhD, Chairman and CEO of Roosevelt Capital Partners, LLC and Director of Penn Security Bank. “When others said it was not possible to create a medical college in Northeastern Pennsylvania, Dr. Naismith took this as a challenge to work even harder to make the college a reality. He has given his time, his advice and his imagination in making this day a part of history for our medical students, community and patients of the region,” Dr. D’ Alessandri concluded.

Of the sixty-five medical students, 24 females and 41 males from across the United States make up TCMC’s Charter Class. Pennsylvania residents make up 70% with 18 coming from the northeast region including Lackawanna, Luzerne, Schuylkill and Wyoming counties. TCMC received a total of 1, 291 applications for the 2013 Charter Class. 

Background Information: The Commonwealth Medical College, one of the nation’s newest medical colleges, welcomed its charter class of sixty-five medical students and Masters of Biomedical Sciences (MBS) students in August 2009. The College has campuses in Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Williamsport and currently has over 113 full time employees and over 557 clinical faculty members. For the academic years of 2009 and 2010, students will use temporary facilities on the Lackawanna College campus. The Commonwealth Medical College is dedicated to training the next generation of physicians in a community-based model. Focusing on selecting students with a propensity for community service, the school’s unique structure is designed to provide these students with diverse clinical experiences from the very first day of their education. For information please go to

The Commonwealth Medical College is an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE).