LECOM's 25 Year History

June 2016

June 3, 2016

LECOM graduates first class of dental students

LECOM proudly graduated 100 members of the inaugural class of the School of Dental Medicine, bestowing upon them the Doctor of Dental Medicine Degree. The Dental School graduates spent three years studying at the LECOM Florida campus in Lakewood Ranch; included in that training was one year of clinical training at the LECOM Dental Group Practices, and a final year of clinical practice at dental offices in DeFuniak Springs, FL, and in Erie, PA. Since enrolling its first class of 100 School of Dental Medicine students, LECOM has seen continued growth, with 400 students currently enrolled in its Dental School.

January 2016

January 1, 2016

LECOM Health acquires Corry Memorial Hosptial, Visiting Nurses Association of Erie County and Presque Isle Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

The addition of Corry Memorial Hosptial to LECOM Health swill be a benefit to the Corry community, as the hospital will have access to health-system physicians and medical services. With the addition of CMH to LECOM Health, the system will now reach into eastern Erie County, as well as parts of Warren and Crawford counties, which are served by CMH. CMH, which is a critical access hospital. The hope is that access to LECOM Health physicians will allow Corry residents to get the care they need at their hometown hospital.

LECOM Health has acquired the 106-year-old Visiting Nurses Association of Erie County (VNA) along with a second skilled-nursing facility, now known as LECOM at Presque Isle. Both organizations will play an important role in the continuum of care that has been a growing part of the superlative health care provided by the only osteopathic academic health center in America. The VNA is renowned for its home health care services, but the organization also plays a significant part in hospice care and veterans care.  Another experienced health care constant, LECOM at Presque Isle, is the only skilled-nursing center in Erie that provides ventilator services.

June 2015

June 19, 2015

LECOM opens the LECOM Senior Living Center

Further meeting the needs of community health care, LECOM Health opened the 138-bed LECOM Senior Living Center adjacent to Millcreek Community Hospital. A welcoming and homelike environment, coupled with a skilled nursing facility, offers to older adults, the next generation of innovative, compassionate and comprehensive health care.

May 2015

May 5, 2015

Millcreek Health System becomes LECOM Health

For decades Millcreek Health System reinforced a powerful and purposed health care mission. LECOM had been solidly at the epicenter of that mission, championing the vision of healthful living and advancing the educational and medical core of a growing and ever-expanding network of medical exceptionalism. The Millcreek Health System had been the seminal delivery system for health care in the western Pennsylvania region and LECOM had been its educational stalwart.

The College had taken to heart the concept that the community is our campus. To promote fitness and wellness for the betterment of our community, LECOM opened the John M. and Silvia Ferretti Medical Fitness and Wellness Center. To answer the need for better oral health care, the College opened the LECOM Dental Offices. With Erie County’s senior population now approaching one-out-of-four residents, LECOM added another component to its health care programs for older adults with the acquisition of three residential communities, the adoption of LifeWorks Erie and construction of the Senior Living Center.

LECOM Health has coordintated with the full complement of our academic health system – with hospitals, doctors, pharmacies, health plans, governments and employers – to improve the countless lives that we touch.

October 2014

October 27, 2014

LECOM incorporates LifeWorks Erie into family of health and educational services

LECOM incorporated LifeWorks Erie into its family of health and educational services. The affiliation with LifeWorks Erie, which offers programs, services and lifelong learning opportunities for individuals age 50 and older, has complemented and enhanced the ability of the LECOM Institute for Successful Aging to serve the growing elderly population throughout the region.

September 2014

September 24, 2014

LECOM takes on Safe Kids Erie

In keeping with its unremitting mission of service and its unflagging goal to promote improved health for all, LECOM became the lead agency for the Safe Kids Erie Program, which previously had been administered by the Erie County Department of Health. Safe Kids Erie strives to educate families and to raise awareness of the fact that the vast majority of injuries to children can and should be prevented.  LECOM leadership of the Program created additional opportunities for students at the College to serve the community.

August 2014

August 1, 2014

LECOM introduces the School of Pharmacy Distance Education Pathway and Masters in Health Services Administration program

Ever vigilant to marking innovative trends in education, LECOM added two Distance Education Pathways in 2014. The School of Pharmacy Four-Year Pathway grew to allow students to take courses online. The pathway offered one of only two online-distance education programs in the nation for pursuing the Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

The first online class of the Masters of Health Services Administration provided the highly sought opportunity for professionals aspiring to take leadership roles in the administration of hospitals, clinical practices and in other health care facilities.

July 2012

July 16, 2012

LECOM welcomes first dental class at Bradenton campus

The LECOM School of Dental Medicine welcomed students in Bradenton in July 2012 and established yet a new era in the betterment of health care education. The first class of dental students completed their third year of study by treating patients at the Lakewood Ranch group practice offices. The Class of 2016 advanced to community-based dental outreach offices in DeFuniak Springs, FL, and in Erie, PA, for the 2015 academic year. These sites were chosen, in part, because of the enduring LECOM commitment to provide care where it is most needed.

July 2011

July 25, 2011

LECOM opens Coffee Culture Cafe and Eatery

Erie residents and visitors received another choice for gourmet coffee, baked goods, soups, sandwiches and salads. Located at 5761 Peach Street, LECOM purchased the Coffee Culture franchise and invested $700,000 in renovations, landscaping and equipment.

July 1, 2011

LECOM introduces Accelerated Physician Assistant Pathway program

LECOM took another innovative step toward encouraging more individuals to become physicians at a cost savings to the students. LECOM received the approval for an accelerated three-year medical school curriculum for certified physician assistants to obtain a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree. The American Osteopathic Association Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation approved the Accelerated Physician Assistant Pathway (APAP). The pathway concept came from the LECOM Master of Science in Medical Education program and was designed by LECOM graduate Mark Kauffman, D.O., and was the first three-year medical degree program designed for certified physician assistants.

June 2011

June 1, 2011

LECOM graduates first pharmacy class from Bradenton campus

The Bradenton campus graduated its first class of new pharmacists in June 2011. The College awarded professional degrees to 77 pharmacy students.

June 1, 2011

LECOM breaks ground on LECOM School of Dental Medicine

In June of 2011, ground was broken on what would become the $52 million LECOM School of Dental Medicine, based in Bradenton, FL.

January 2011

January 1, 2011

LECOM announces plans for School of Dental Medicine at Bradenton campus

LECOM presented plans for the LECOM School of Dental Medicine in Bradenton, FL, during a news conference at the campus in Lakewood Ranch. For more than a year, LECOM administrators and the Board of Trustees investigated the need to open a dental school in Florida and determined that the College could meet the educational and health care needs of the state’s citizens. Reports from the Surgeon General of the United States showed that while the understanding of tooth decay and periodontal diseases brought about marked improvement in the oral health of many Americans, not all Americans benefited by the same degree.

September 2009

September 1, 2009

LECOM extends the College of Osteopathic Medicine to Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA

The vision of LECOM continued in 2009 with the extension of LECOM Erie to the campus of the private liberal arts institution of Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA. LECOM at Seton Hill added an additional 104 medical students to the first-year class and brought its total to more than 400 students in enrollment.

March 2009

March 1, 2009

LECOM opens the John M. And Silvia Ferretti Medical Fitness and Wellness Center

With the opening of the John M. and Silvia Ferretti Medical Fitness and Wellness Center, the College founded a medically integrated wellness center that not only serves the fitness and medical education needs of LECOM students and employees of LECOM Health, but also provided a facility that offers to the populace of Erie County an opportunity to pursue a better quality of life through prevention and wellness.

June 2008

June 1, 2008

LECOM graduates first class at Bradenton campus

Four years after the opening of LECOM’s Bradenton campus, its first 135 students graduated with their Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Degrees in June 2008.

August 2007

August 15, 2007

LECOM opens School of Pharmacy in Bradenton, FL; LECOM celebrates its 15th Anniversary

LECOM identified a growing need for new pharmacists in Florida, the southeastern United States, and across the country. Florida, at the time, was one of nine states leading the nation in demand for new pharmacists. Four of those states are also in the southeast. So, LECOM extended its School of Pharmacy to the Bradenton Campus and the first class of 85 students began their instruction in August 2007.

June 2007

June 1, 2007

Primary Care Scholars Pathway matriculates its first students

The Primary Care Scholars Pathway became the first three-year medical degree program since the 1970’s. At the time, LECOM was the only U.S. school offering a three-year degree. Now, LECOM is just one of five schools in the country that offer a three-year medical degree.

June 2005

June 1, 2005

School of Pharmacy graduates its first class of 76 Doctors of Pharmacy; LECOM institutes Masters of Science in Medical Education Program

LECOM’s first 76 School of Pharmacy graduates received their Doctor of Pharmacy degrees in June 2005. With the conferring of the diplomas, The LECOM School of Pharmacy received full accreditation from the Accreditation Council on Pharmacy Education.

In the same year, LECOM began its Masters of Science in Medical Education program. This postgraduate course became the first distance education program at LECOM and it trains physicians to become teachers and leaders in the clinical education of future physicians. The College also offers the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences Degree and the Health Sciences Post Baccalaureate Certificate.

September 2004

September 9, 2004

LECOM opens the College of Osteopathic Medicine branch campus in Bradenton, FL

In addition to the original campus in Erie, PA, LECOM continued its role in the vanguard of national leadership in osteopathic medicine by developing a branch campus in Bradenton, FL. Located in the lush, palm-embowered setting of Lakewood Ranch, a master-planned community in Manatee County, FL, LECOM Bradenton welcomed its first class of medical students on September 13, 2004. With the enrollment of the Bradenton Class of 2011, LECOM became the largest medical college in the nation and the only medical school in the country to offer a complete program in Problem-Based Learning. In 2007, the School of Pharmacy also expanded to Florida, offering a traditional four-year Doctor of Pharmacy degree curriculum and graduating the first class from LECOM Bradenton in 2011.

September 2002

September 1, 2002

Classes begin for the LECOM School of Pharmacy and LECOM celebrates its 10th Anniversary

True to the College mission to provide primary health care to Northwestern Pennsylvania, LECOM achieved another milestone with the addition of its School of Pharmacy. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania approved the LECOM School of Pharmacy in May 2001. Classes began in September 2002 – in congruence with the College’s 10th anniversary – and LECOM held its first pharmacy school graduation in June 2005.

In just its 10th year of existence, LECOM had firmly cemented itself as a leader in medical education.

May 2001

May 1, 2001

LECOM School of Pharmacy receives approval from Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

The Commonwealth approved the addition of the School of Pharmacy to LECOM. LECOM became one of the few schools to offer a three-year pharmacy degree program.

Also in the same year, LECOM’s Independent Study Pathway matriculated its first students.

June 2000

June 8, 2000

Groundbreaking ceremony is held for expansion of the main campus

In 2000, officials of Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine broke ground for a $15 million, four-story addition adding 100,000 square feet to the existing LECOM building to provide the medical school with space to meet current and projected needs. The expansion provided new teaching and study areas for the growing medical school enrollment. In 2000, the projected future enrollment possible for LECOM was 1,000 students.

In addition to the groundbreaking for the expansion, the first students in LECOM’s Problem-Based Learning Pathway matriculated.

July 1998

July 10, 1998

President and CEO John M. Ferretti, D.O., named Educator of Year by AOA

Four years after becoming the second president of the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. John M. Ferretti was named the Educator of the Year by the American Osteopathic Association.

May 1997

May 24, 1997

First class of medical students graduates

With the graduation of the LECOM inaugural class of 37 students on May 24, 1997, the College received full accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association. Since that time, LECOM has granted the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree to more than 5,400 graduates.

September 1996

September 1, 1996

LECOM Opens Medical Research Facility and holds first White Coat ceremony

Additionally, a tradition began in 1996 when the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine held its first ever white coat ceremony, which heralds the students’ migration from the classroom to clinical education.

Also in 1996, LECOM opened its medical research facility. Research is a key part of the LECOM mission to prepare well-qualified healthcare professionals. To meet the educational goals of research, the college provides laboratory space and encourages research by faculty members and students.


May 1994

May 30, 1994

John M. Ferretti, D.O., named LECOM’s President and CEO

John M. Ferretti, D.O., succeeded Dr. Namey, becoming the second President of LECOM. Dr. Ferretti is a Board Certified Internist who was among the College founders and who is a nationally recognized leader in osteopathic medicine. Under Dr. Ferretti’s guidance, the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine has gained national prominence and it has realized unprecedented growth.

August 1993

August 9, 1993

Charter class matriculates; Learning-Discussion curriculum begins

On August 9, 1993, the first students of the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine began their journey to their Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Degree via the Learning-Discussion Pathway.

December 1992

December 24, 1992

Founded by Millcreek Community Hospital, LECOM is established as 16th College of Osteopathic Medicine

The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) was established as the 16th college of osteopathic medicine in the nation with its receipt of a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Charter in December 1992. Joseph J. Namey, D.O., was the College’s founding president. The Charter Class began on August 9, 1993. With the graduation of the LECOM inaugural class on May 24, 1997, the College received full accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association. Since that time, LECOM has granted the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree to more than 5,400 graduates.