2017 Northup Educator of the Year - Dr. Thad Wilson, Ph.D
Dr. Kasimos is more than an educator and mentor, he has gone above and beyond to redefine those words over the past 27 years, shaping the education and lives of Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine (CCOM) students.
The first job Dr. Kasimos took after residency had a stipulation in the contract of which he was not so sure; required to lecture in the Department of Pathology, CCOM. If you met him today, I doubt you would believe he ever had reservations.
Dr. Kasimos learned in his first year that educating and engaging students was his passion. He signed on the following year to be the SOMA Advisor, a position he has held for the past 26 years. Dr. Kasimos has advanced CCOM and Osteopathy through dozens of committees, publications, leadership positions, and other means, all accounted for in his curriculum vitae, but none of that is the reason he has been chosen by the students ten times to be the keynote speaker or Marhall of CCOM’s Bridging and Commencement Ceremonies, and is just a small part of why I submit this nomination today.
He has earned these honors because he opens himself up and gives 100% of to his students. Academically, I have never known a more skilled or captivating lecturer. Many professors say “my door is always open”. Between Dr. Kasimos’ lectures, the line of students is long, and conversations often include both questions about the lecture and updates on how things worked out with students’ family members/siblings/etc. Dr. Kasimos is the faculty member students seek out for acquiring the skills and knowledge of both medicine and life.
Dr. Kasimos is loved by his students for his willingness to drop everything to be available when they suddenly need a faculty member present at an event, for the 26 times he has been the auctioneer at SOMA’s Auction, for the dinners to which he invites students, for his lunch talks on achieving life-work balance, for the way he somehow finds time to be actively involved in his church and community, and for the absolute love he has for his wife and children.
CCOM’s students see all of this in the small smile he lets escape when we learn that our pathology lectures will be filled with slides of classical artwork in addition to tissue samples, in the joy he gets from connecting with us, and in the alumni pride he has in our institution. His presence and his soft, compassionate tone lets us know that he is a willing and genuine guide for us though our hardships, academic or personal. Dr. Kasimos gives much more than an education to the students. He gives them love.
Dr. Northup was described as often going above and beyond his call of duty to improve students' educational experiences. Dr. Kasimos does this every day, but also improves our lives. For that reason above all others, I formally submit my nomination for the SOMA Foundation’s Northup Educator of the Year Award, Dr. John Kasimos, DO.