Midwestern State University alumnus Dr. Michael K. Obeng will deliver the commencement address at MSU’s graduation ceremony at 10 a.m. May 14 at Kay Yeager Coliseum. Approximately 675 students are candidates to earn their degrees this May.
Obeng came to MSU from Ghana. He saw a flyer about the university in a friend’s dorm room and knew it was in Texas, but that was all. While an MSU student, Obeng laid carpet, worked for Golden Corral, and drove a school bus for the Wichita Falls Independent School District. His bed was one he rescued from someone else’s trash, and he and his roommate alternated sleeping on it and the floor. After his first semester at MSU, he got a job at the Moffett Library and eventually landed a job as a residence assistant that paid his room and board, a big relief for a struggling student.
Obeng earned his Bachelor of Science from MSU in 1997, graduating cum laude with a major in chemistry. He received his medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and completed post-graduate work in plastic and reconstructive surgery at the UT Medical Branch John Sealy Hospitals for Children before accepting a fellowship at Harvard Medical School.
Obeng is currently on staff at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, Calif., and is a noted author and lecturer on healthcare disparities around the globe. He has received numerous honors, awards and recognition for his professional achievements including a research grant from the National Institute of Health and the Herman A. Barnett Memorial Award for Excellence in Surgery and Anesthesia. His professional society memberships include the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, and the American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery.
In Ghana, Obeng saw the pain caused by physical deformities, and the helplessness of those afflicted as they lived with their situation with no money, and too few qualified physicians, to have the problem corrected. He formed RESTORE (Restoring Emotional Stability Through Outstanding Reconstructive Efforts) to help those people. RESTORE’s volunteer teams have traveled to Ghana and Guatemala to perform free reconstruction surgeries. Obeng credits the giving spirit of teachers, advisers, and fellow students during his time at Midwestern State with instilling in him the need to help others. “I won’t forget where it all started,” he said.