Each year the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) Board of Deans recognizes an individual of national prominence in public service as the recipient of the William D. Miller Award. Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) is proud to announce this year’s recipient as John G. Rocovich, Jr., JD, LLM, chairman of the VCOM Board of Directors.
The William D. Miller Award is given to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the advancement or support of osteopathic medicine or osteopathic medical education. As founding chairman of VCOM Board of Directors, Rocovich has played an instrumental role in the advancement of osteopathic medicine throughout the Appalachian region.
In the early years of his law practice, Rocovich focused many of his efforts on clients in the coal industry of southwest Virginia. The time he spent in the coal fields of Virginia, Kentucky and West Virginia solidified an understanding of the needs and desires of the people of the southern Appalachian region.
Rocovich was struck by their need for physicians and health care in general. Beginning in the early 1980s, he and his wife, Sue Ellen Rocovich, DO, began to plan for establishment of a new osteopathic medical school in the region. In 2001, the plans were realized with the founding of VCOM's first campus in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Currently, Rocovich is active in the continuing development of VCOM. He played vital roles in establishing VCOM’s branch campus in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and Auburn, Alabama. His drive to propel osteopathic education throughout the region is why Jan Willcox, DO, VCOM—Virginia campus dean, nominated Rocovich for this prestigious award.
“From the beginning, Mr. Rocovich has been committed to increasing the diversity of the healthcare workforce through assuring not only rural opportunities, but also serving other populations who have traditionally been underrepresented in medicine,” wrote Willcox in her nomination letter to ACCOM Board of Deans.
The VCOM community is proud to call such a strong proponent of osteopathic medicine and underserved outreach a founder that propels the college’s mission daily. The award is a well-deserved honor for an individual who has given a great deal to the Appalachian Region and beyond.
Rocovich is a native of Blacksburg, Virginia, and alumnus of Virginia Tech. Because of his continued support for the Blacksburg and Virginia Tech communities, he was presented the Virginia Tech Alumni Distinguished Service Award in 2000.
Rocovich is an attorney and the chairman of the law firm Moss & Rocovich Attorneys-at-Law, P.C. in Roanoke, Virginia. He devotes considerable attention to the Southern Baptist Convention and its Foreign Mission Board, as well as other colleges, Virginia museums, and financial and commercial institutions.
For more information, contact Jenna Nichols. Director of Communications, Marketing, Website and Publications, at 540-231-8363 or via email at jnichols [at] vt.vcom.edu.