Fort Smith’s new medical school opened to its inaugural class Monday with a main mission in mind — serving the medically under-served.
“Hollywood does not need more plastic surgeons. Real America needs caring, compassionate physicians who believe that their call in their life is to serve,” said John Taylor, chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education.
The Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine at Chaffee Crossing in Fort Smith is the first installment of ACHE. The College of Health Sciences is expected to open in 2020.
“This is a historic event. You’re the first class that took a chance to come to a brand new medical school,” President and CEO Kyle Parker said Monday morning.
As the students sat in one of the school’s lecture halls just before 9 a.m., the room got quiet when a presentation appeared on the screen in front of them. Shortly after the words, “Please take your seat,” a 60-second countdown and the song, “Celebration” played, soliciting a round of clapping and then cheers when countdown hit zero, officially kicking off the first day of medical school.
“The real celebration begins in your heart today in this lecture hall,” Provost and Dean Ray Stowers said to the 162 students.
About 3,860 students applied, Parker said.
For student Samantha Skinner, who is from Alabama and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville in 2015, the community support for the school struck her.
“I felt like Fort Smith — the entire town — was really behind the school,” Skinner said.
Skinner lives at the medical school’s student apartments,…
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