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Durell Peaden Naming Ceremony

4:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5 — College of Medicine Auditorium and Atrium

I’m so pleased to be here to take part in this ceremony. It’s good to see Durell’s wife, Nancy, and many of Durell’s family and friends here as we pay tribute to him and celebrate how much he meant to Florida State University.

I think it’s clear that we would not be standing here in the College of Medicine today if it were not for the vision, and the passion, and the tenacity of Durell Peaden.

As a country doctor who cared for the families in his hometown of Crestview, Durell was passionate about providing the kind of care where the patient comes first.

But he knew that there were a lot of Floridians who were not getting any medical care because they were elderly or lived in rural or inner city areas. There simply were not enough primary care doctors to treat them.

In the late ‘90s, there had not been a new medical school created in the United States in 25 years. Durell knew the time was right for a different kind of medical school and that the place for it was Florida State University.

I, too, believed strongly in the need for more physicians to serve the people of Florida.

I, too, believed in Florida State’s unique ability to provide the kind of exemplary education and patient-centered training that the physicians of today and tomorrow would need.

So, together, we worked to win legislative approval for the new medical school 15 years ago.

In many ways, President Sandy D’Alemberte, Myra Hurt, the med school faculty and our first students were pioneers. That’s why it is especially gratifying to see that we were able to achieve Durell’s vision of success almost from the beginning.

We graduated our first class of 27 students in 2005, and in 2008 they began finishing their residencies and became our first practicing physicians. That was just seven years ago. Now consider:

  • We have 202 new alumni physicians practicing in Florida
  • 127 of those are providing primary care, which is the cornerstone of our mission
  • More than 50 of our graduates are practicing in the Florida Panhandle

Of our FSU graduates practicing in Florida, 17 percent of them are in rural areas. That’s almost triple the national average (6 percent) of doctors who practice in rural communities.

That’s exactly how Durell would have wanted it. And that’s why it is fitting that we rename the college’s Rural Medical Education Program in Durell’s honor.

I am also glad that students, faculty and guests — for generations to come — will gather in this auditorium, and they will see Durell Peaden’s name.

Because of him, countless citizens of this state are now being served by doctors trained at this very College of Medicine. Because of him, lives are being saved every day.

Around Crestview, many folks knew Durell as “Doc.” I was proud to call him “friend.”

Under the authority granted by the Florida State University Board of Trustees, I hereby name this auditorium the Durell Peaden Auditorium.