NEOMED Sends Gershen Off with ‘Midwest Nice’

ROOTSTOWN, Ohio — Northeast Ohio Medical University celebrated the 10-year presidency and retirement of Jay A. Gershen, D.D.S., Ph.D., with guests highlighting his priorities over the last decade.

The reception and program, held Sept. 25 in the atrium of the NEOMED Education and Wellness Center, welcomed over 300 guests – many of whom formed an impromptu reception line to offer their personal words of appreciation to Gershen.

With NEOMED Board of Trustees chair Paul R. Bishop serving as master of ceremonies, leaders in health care and higher education as well as public officials offered words of appreciation – either in person or via proclamations – for a person many referred to as caring, collaborative and innovative.

Saluted as a “fine Ohioan,” Gershen was recognized by Dr. Louis Sullivan, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. “You have increased the racial and ethnic diversity of the student body and enhanced the opportunities for low-income students to become physicians, pharmacists and other health professionals,” Sullivan said.

Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America based in Washington, D.C., praised Gershen’s significant impact as a national leader for health research.

Para Jones, president of Stark State College, named the many northeast Ohio counties that have collaborated with NEOMED during Gershen’s tenure, concluding that the university was like the United Nations.

The event ended with several surprises for Gershen. The first, presented by former board chair Robert Klonk, was a portrait of Gershen by artist Ying-He Liu. The next was the naming of the Gershen Suite, which was the apartment in The Village where Gershen lived among NEOMED students for most of this year, highlighting his commitment to students.

And the final surprise was revealed when Bruce Sherman, chair of the NEOMED Foundation, announced that “as of today, we are standing in the… Jay A. Gershen Atrium.”

In his final remarks, Gershen thanked everyone, adding that during his tenure, he really got to know and appreciate what people meant by “Midwest nice.”

Gershen’s official retirement announced one year ago was effective Monday.

Pictured at top: Jay Gershen speaks in front of the portrait presented at his retirement celebration.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.