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Mission service planned by recipient
Adventist history was made on Sunday, May 29, 2011, when the 10,000th medical student to graduate from Loma Linda University School of Medicine crossed the stage to receive his diploma.
Receiving that distinction was Reiker Schultz, MD, a third-generation Loma Linda University School of Medicine graduate.
“My friends and family told me there were fireworks on the large screen,” Dr. Schultz laughs, “and that the band even played a special fanfare, but I don’t remember any of it!
“I was utterly shocked and in a daze,” Dr. Schultz continues. “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, MD, dean of the School of Medicine, says “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.”
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 continues. “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 G. White, a leading pioneer of the fledgling Seventh-day Adventist Church. 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 points 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 adds, “We are also the longest continuously accredited medical school in Southern California.” He attributes the sustained success of the school in a major part to strong church support. Loma Linda University 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 on a cross-country journey that will take 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.
Dr. Schultz grew up in Chesanang, Michigan. His grandfather, Frank Richard Schultz, MD graduated from LLU School of Medicine in 1940 and established a successful medical practice. His father, Richard Frank Schultz, MD, graduated in 1974 and completed an internal medicine residency before joining his father’s practice.
Prior to completing his pre-medical 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 relates. “My wife and I were into entertainment—primarily movies and computer games.”
He and Jessica met a couple about their age who was heavily involved in Adventist Frontier Missions. “Their experiences intrigued us,” he remembers. “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 points out. “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 explains. “I want to do something ‘real’ with my life that involves service to others.”
LOMA LINDA UNIVERSITY | Office of University Relations