Medical School Graduates
Record 10,000th Student

Third-generation physician, Reiker Schultz, sets Loma Linda milestone

BY LARRY KIDDER, Loma Linda University public relations

Seventh-day Adventist educational history was made Sunday, May 29, 2011, when the 10,000th medical student to graduate from Loma Linda University (LLU) School of Medicine crossed the stage to receive his diploma. The 102-year-old school is part of the university founded at the direction of Adventist movement cofounder Ellen G. White, and is an institution of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

Receiving that distinction was Reiker Schultz, M.D., a third-generation LLU School of Medicine graduate.
“My friends and family told me there were fireworks on the large screen,” Dr. Schultz recalled, laughing, “and that the band even played a special fanfare, but I don’t remember any of it!”

He added, “I was utterly shocked and in a daze. In retrospect, however, the experience gave me a bigger burden to do something special with my life and my career in order to honor the School of Medicine.”

Roger Hadley, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine, said, “The church should be very proud. Over more than a century, it has sustained a medical school that has graduated a southern California record 10,000 medical students.”

MILESTONE MEDIC: Reiker Schultz, M.D. (right), receives congratulations from Roger Hadley, M.D., dean of the Loma Linda University School of Medicine, on being the school’s 10,000th graduate. The Seventh-day Adventist Church-owned facility admitted its first medical class in 1909.  PHOTOS: LLU
In October 2009 the school began a five-year celebration of its 100th anniversary. In 1909 the first medical school class of five students began training at the College of Medical Evangelists, precursor to the LLU School of Medicine. That first class graduated in 1914, meaning that the 100th class will graduate in 2014, when the school will conclude its centennial celebration.

“During much of the school’s history the surrounding rural communities were orange groves,” Dr. Hadley continued. “For a medical school to flourish in this setting is a real testament to the support and commitment of the church.”

The university property was purchased at the insistence of Ellen White. She urged John Burden, an Adventist pastor and educator, to make a down payment on the property. Within a year the property had been paid for through private donations.

Loma Linda University School of Medicine is only one of a handful of schools nationwide to graduate 10,000 students or more. Though previous classes were smaller, the school currently graduates more than 150 students each year.

“Think of the impact on health care throughout the world,” Dr. Hadley pointed out. “There are thousands of physicians practicing around the world, educated with the philosophy of ‘continuing the healing and teaching ministry of Jesus Christ, to make man whole.’ ”

Dr. Hadley added, “We are also the longest continuously accredited medical school in southern California.” He attrib-utes the sustained success of the school in a major part to strong church support. LLU Medical Center, formerly the Loma Linda Sanitarium and Hospital, has partnered with the school over the years to provide a solid experiential base for the physician graduates.

On Tuesday, May 31, Dr. Schultz and his family started a cross-country journey that brought them to Cincinnati, Ohio, where Dr. Schultz will begin an internal medicine residency at The Jewish Hospital. He and his wife, Jessica, have two children: Jaron, age 10, and Alaina, age 8.

THREE GENERATIONS: Reiker Schultz, M.D., takes a moment to share his diploma with his 10-year-old son, Jaron, and his father, Dr. Richard Schultz, following the graduation ceremony on Sunday, May 29, 2011.
Dr. Schultz grew up in Chesaning, Michigan. His grandfather, Frank Richard Schultz, M.D., graduated from LLU School of Medicine in 1940 and established a successful medical practice. His father, Richard Frank Schultz, M.D., graduated in 1974 and completed an internal medicine residency before joining his father’s practice.

Prior to completing his premedical requirements and a general science bachelor’s degree primarily in the biological sciences in 2007, Dr. Schultz was a CAD designer at an automotive manufacturer in Portage, Michigan.

“I had no desire for medical school at that point in my life,” Dr. Schultz related. “My wife and I were into entertainment—primarily movies and computer games.”

He and Jessica met a couple about their age that was heavily involved in Adventist Frontier Missions. “Their experiences intrigued us,” he recalled. “After a year of prayer and discussion, my wife and I decided we wanted to pursue mission service.”

With a sense of direction and mission, Dr. Schultz headed to medical school. “This new direction in my life is ‘real,’ ” he said. “I feel I can really make a difference.”

Following his residency, Dr. Schultz and his wife plan to serve abroad in a mission appointment. “Mission service is the real reason I came to medical school,” he explained. “I want to do something ‘real’ with my life that involves service to others.”

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