June 5, 2009
  Top Story

David Lichtman, MD, chair of Orthopaedics

Lichtman receives bachelor’s degree after 50 years

It took a 43-year career in medicine to get it, but David Lichtman, MD, chair of Orthopaedics, finally received his bachelor’s degree last month. Dr. Lichtman can now add “Bachelor of Science from Tufts University” to his resume.

In 1959, Lichtman enrolled in a unique degree program at the university that allowed him to receive both his Bachelor of Science and Medical Doctor degrees after three years of undergraduate work and completion of medical school. However, he transferred to State University of New York, Brooklyn, before completing his degree. Although he went on to join the U.S. Navy, receive his MD, rise to the rank of Navy rear admiral, and was appointed director of surgical services at National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Lichtman never completed his bachelor’s degree.

After learning of the academic oddity, a friend of Lichtman’s petitioned Tufts to grant the degree. His years of life, as well as professional experience and service, were taken into consideration.  Tufts agreed to credit Dr. Lichtman with the 22 hours of coursework he lacked for the BS and granted him the degree.

Although he is now officially a member of Tufts University, Class of 2009, Dr. Lichtman opted to not attend the school’s commencement ceremonies on May 16.

“Instead of getting my bachelor’s, I helped confer medical degrees on my own students,” he said.

Dr. Lichtman’s unusual story is getting media attention around the country. Not only did his story appear on our own Web site, it was also in the Star-Telegram, on dfwnbc.com, MSNBC, and on the Associated Press wire.

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