MIDDLETOWN–Mayor DeStefano, friends, and supporters of Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine welcomed the 2019 class with a robust buffet picnic at the Paramount Theatre on Aug. 19. The mayor mingled with students at the event. “They are a tremendous addition to the community, and it’s a celebration of Touro,” he said.
Touro CEO and Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Jerry Cammarata said the event was a good opportunity to have a conversation with the community. “This is a time when the people of Middletown can share dinner, can share comraderie, and can share an opportunity to say ‘hello’ to our students.”
From all accounts, students heartily enjoyed the affair. Incoming students Steven Fung and Chris Nguyen filled their plates with sausage, burgers, chicken wings and a bit of everything else that goes with a great outdoor picnic.
Graduate student Queen Okkokeke intends to go into the Doctoral program after her Masters. As she enjoyed the wings, she expressed appreciation for all the hard work that went into the event. “They came together and did a really good job.” The students have been into their studies for three weeks.
Cammarata said the student body has grown from its inaugural class of 135 students in 2014. He said there are over 335 undergraduates this year and 68 students in the master’s program.
Last year the city’s service club invited incoming Touro students to homes for dinner followed by dessert and coffee downtown. DeStefano intends this to be an “an annual event welcoming the students, their parents, and the different organizations that are helping to bring Touro here.”
Along with the incoming students, the Touro faculty, the Lions Club, Middletown officials, and friends from the community joined the fete. ShopRite showed its support by sponsoring employees Paul Schroeder and Navana Teixerra who were on duty to flip burgers.
Cammarata said the event shows students that the city is a dynamic place to build a medical practice. He credits the mayor with making a great impression on the incoming students. When students come to a school, they don’t know what to expect. “Because of the goodness of the mayor, celebrating it in downtown Middletown doesn’t get any better.”
The Middletown campus is continuing construction. When fully operational, it is expected to enroll more than 500 students. Middletown is the latest addition to Touro’s healthcare institutions, according to its website.
The school operates in three states with five medical schools, two colleges of pharmacy, and an array of graduate and undergraduate programs in the health sciences.
Formerly occupied by the Horton Hospital complex, the school is expected to occupy 110,000 square feet in the building when completed.
To contact this reporter, email [email protected]