Former White House doctor visits Honors students

Dr. Connie Mariano attended a Zoom session with students and talked about her career.

By Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau

Honors College students at Grand Canyon University had a visit with a doctor Tuesday, but it was a healthy exchange. They were on a Zoom conference with Dr. Connie Mariano, who used to work in the White House.

“Given COVID-19 and the situation we’re in, it’s probably the best time to hear from a doctor who has been in that position before,” said Dr. Breanna Naegeli, Associate Dean of the Honors College.

During the call, which was put together by the Honors College but made public for anyone who was interested, Mariano shared her extensive experience in the medical field as well as the military. She also advised aspiring medical professionals of the importance of good grades and a passion for the field before entering it. The theme of her presentation: "Turn standing out to outstanding."

Mariano, who started her career in the Navy assisting the ill and wounded, later became the first military woman to be physician to the President, the first woman director of the White House Medical Unit and the first Filipino American in U.S. history to become a Navy rear admiral.

After caring for three sitting presidents in nine years, Mariano became a consultant in the Executive Health Program at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale for four years. She then worked at the Center for Executive Medicine, a practice that offers presidential-quality medical services to CEOs and their families.

"Dr. Mariano was absolutely sensational,” said Dennis Williams, Honors College Program Manager and the event's host. “She has an incredible story, unmatched passion to serve, but most importantly, she is a good, humble person and professional. Our students were hugely impacted by her story and life experiences, and we were so grateful to have learned from her.

“We had over 50 students joining via Zoom and from all different disciplines. Her stories and advice on work ethic, determination and grit was applicable and advantageous for all."

Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or [email protected].

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