Gerald J. Tritz, Ph.D.
2005 Living Tribute Award
The recipient of the 2005 Living Tribute Award, as selected by the Kirksville Osteopathic Alumni Association Board of Directors, is Gerald J. Tritz, Ph.D. Dr. Tritz’s work as professor and chair of microbiology and immunology at KCOM has established a legacy of faculty development and student mentoring. When he retired in 2003, Dr. Tritz had shaped the microbiology and immunology department into a model educational environment and left a lasting impression on curriculum formulation at the College.
Always concerned with the development and growth of his faculty, Dr. Tritz constantly encouraged them to excel and would teach the majority of the department’s classes to ease the workload. He also recognized the value of leisure time and friendships outside of work. He encouraged faculty to spend time together, both at work and at play. “He always cooked the ham or turkey for holiday parties, and he had a yearly party that everybody enjoyed going to,” said Neal Chamberlain, Ph.D., associate professor, microbiology and immunology. “He is a nice guy with a strong work ethic–no huge ego, just a regular guy. He provided a pleasant place to work, which is saying quite a bit.”
Dr. Tritz believed that by teaching his faculty, he could improve the quality of education being offered. “He led by example,” said Neil Sargentini, Ph.D., associate professor and chair, microbiology and immunology. “He was very compassionate toward the students, and his leadership style was to show you through his own actions.” Dr. Tritz was also an adamant believer in technological support. At the cutting edge of educational technology, he set up computer tutorials to help faculty and students stay up to date. His innovation was pervasive. The department was one of the first to integrate computer technology into the work environment and the educational process. His computerized teaching tools were the first of their kind at the College, and he wrote most of the software himself.
Dr. Tritz’s ultimate goal for his department was to improve the educational experience for students. By encouraging the personal and professional development of his faculty and integrating the latest technological innovations in the classroom, he constructed a student-centered, learning-centered environment. His love for teaching students drove him to create the ideal learning experience. “His idea of an academic program was very student-sensitive. He was an advocate for students, and he just loved to teach,” said Robert Theobald, Ph.D., professor and chair, pharmacology.
Dr. Tritz established a legacy at KCOM that emphasizes a strong, student-sensitive academic program. He recognized the importance of faculty preparedness and strived to maintain the highest level of professionalism in his department. His belief in tried and true educational activity, coupled with his willingness to try new things, benefited the faculty, staff, and students who were under his leadership. As the current department chair, Dr. Sargentini acknowledgs the undeniable impact Dr. Tritz had on education. “This department is better-equipped and has a strong emphasis on commitment to teaching because of Dr. Tritz.”
Established in 1969, the Living Tribute Award provides alumni and friends of the College an opportunity to support outstanding KCOM faculty and administrators. All donations in honor of Dr. Tritz are restricted for use by the KOAA/KCOM Education Program Fund.
Please use the online giving form to make your contribution. Dr. Tritz will be notified of those who give in his honor.