Peter J. Swofford, D.O., '57
2007 Alumnus of the Year
Peter Swofford, D.O., speaks with the kind of humility one might expect from a butcher-turned-doctor. His path from Yakima, Wash., to osteopathic medical school in Kirksville, Mo., is not the stereotypical one. It all began with a back injury at the Willow Meat Company.
“Our family doctor, an M.D., was out of town at the time,” Dr. Swofford said. “Someone at the plant told me to go visit A.J. Myers, a D.O. from Kirksville.”
During the visit, he told Dr. Myers of his plans to attend medical school at the University of Washington. After a successful treatment, Dr. Myers encouraged him to consider the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine.
“You talk about an advocate,” Dr. Swofford said. “He had an application and brochure in his office, and he even offered to pay for my first year. I didn’t know anything about osteopathic medicine at the time. Luckily, I was accepted.”
The future father of seven didn’t realize it when he graduated from KCOM in 1957, but he was the beginning of a legacy that would bring rapid change when he returned to Sunnyside, Wash., just outside his hometown of Yakima.
Dr. Swofford and three graduates from Des Moines College of Osteopathic Medicine opened Sunnyside General Hospital and immediately began to affect the community. Sunnyside General attracted so much business, that the allopathic hospital in town began sending its physicians to Sunnyside.
As the Kirksville Osteopathic Alumni Association’s Alumnus of the Year, Dr. Swofford wants to remind graduates that his generation paved the way for the open practice environment they enjoy, and to not take it for granted.
“I would tell them that it’s good to be different and even to consider yourselves exceptional,” Dr. Swofford said. “Flaunt your differences, not your similarities.”
Above all, Dr. Swofford said graduates should remember that work isn’t work if you enjoy what you do.
“Sure, you may get tired, but it’s not really work. I hope I’m remembered as someone who always had a smile and enjoyed my patients. Just think, we built hospitals for you to play in!”
Purpose of Award
The Kirksville Osteopathic Alumni Association (KOAA) Board of Directors established the Alumnus of the Year Award in 1982 to recognize and honor Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCOM) graduates who have made outstanding contributions to KCOM and the osteopathic profession.
The award provides the opportunity for fellow alumni, colleagues, patients, students, and friends of the recipient to honor the Alumnus of the Year and support KCOM's education program.
Please contact Alumni Affairs (firstname.lastname@example.org) for assistance.