Larry Keith honored at MED closing ceremony

The UNC community celebrated the life of Mr. Larry Keith and the hard work of 81 future health care providers at the UNC Medical Education Development (MED) program closing ceremony on July 31.

Larry Keith honored at MED closing ceremony click to enlarge Mr. Larry Keith
Larry Keith honored at MED closing ceremony click to enlarge Dr. Michael Zollicoffer addresses the MED students and families.

The breakfast and awards ceremony was attended by more than 300 people, including students, family members, professors, and administrative staff.

The MED program is a pre-med and pre-dental preparation course for minority and disadvantaged students entering or applying for medical or dental school, or pursuing other health professions. The program has a proven track record of success. Since 1974, 88 percent of all MED graduates have entered the health professions. And of those, 90 percent gained admission and 80 percent chose to attend medical or dental school.

Keith was Director of the Medical Education Development program from 1992 until his death in February 2010. In addition, he was the Assistant Dean of Admissions, Associate Director of Office of Educational Development and Director of Special Programs.

Michael Zollicoffer, MD, the 2010 closing ceremony keynote speaker, spoke about Keith during his lecture. He was “a man who taught us to never give up,” Zollicoffer said. He called Keith a friend, and a legend. “When you follow a legend, you have to deal with humbleness,” Zollicoffer told students.  He also warned them that sometimes “it becomes so difficult, you may doubt yourself.” Zollicoffer encouraged the students to pursue their dreams, and to accept that failure is a part of success.

Zollicoffer, a 1985 graduate of the School of Medicine, himself followed a legend, his father, Dr. Lawrence Zollicoffer. Dr. Lawrence Zollicoffer was the fourth African-American graduate of the UNC School of Medicine. UNC honors Dr. Lawrence Zollicoffer every year at the School of Medicine Community Service Day when an invited guest delivers the Zollicoffer-Merrimon lecture.

Michael Zollicoffer has operated a private practice in Baltimore for more than twenty years. He will also be honored with the 2010 Harvey E. Beech Outstanding Alumnus award later this year.

Of the 81 graduates, two will enter the UNC School of Medicine this year.

The program established six awards to honor Keith, those awards, and the 2010 winners are listed below.

2010 Award Winners:
MED Top Pre-Medical Scholar - Milele Bynum
MED Top Pre-Dental Scholar - Brian Fernandes
Larry Keith Humanitarian Award - Kimberly Malloy
Larry Keith Leadership Award - Dominique Medina, Sara Obeid
Larry Keith Vision Award - Ephasia Goodall
Larry Keith Courage Award - Milele Bynum
Larry Keith Perseverance Award - Hernan Vega
Larry Keith Spirit Award - Devinn Geeson, Alisa Eanes, Brandon Ransom

2010 UNC Faculty:
Biochemistry: Dr. Toews, Dr. Traut, Dr. Fried, Dr. Dohlman, Dr. Esch
Microbiology: Dr. Klapper, Bruce Alexander, Dr. Gilligan
Histology: Dr. O'Rand
Gross Anatomy: Dr. Montgomery
Dental Theory: Dr. Ziemiecki

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