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Doisy College of Health Sciences 2023 Alumni Merit Award Recipient

Saint Louis University honored some of its most outstanding alumni with the University’s Alumni Merit and Pioneer Awards in the spring of 2023. SLU’s Alumni Merit Award is bestowed upon a distinguished graduate from 12 of the University’s schools, colleges, and centers in recognition of their outstanding achievement, dedication to a chosen profession and commitment to the mission of the University. The 2023 Doisy College of Health Sciences Alumni Merit Award recipient was William E. Giese, PA-C Class of ’69, ‘73.

Three men in suits stand on the stage during an award ceremony. The one in the middle wears a medal.

From left to right Bernard Rousseau, Ph.D., M.M.H.C., FASHA, Dean of Doisy College of Health Sciences, William Giese, P.A.-C, DCHS 2023 Alumni Merit Award Recipient, Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., President of Saint Louis University.

When Giese graduated from SLU in 1969, he did not have a career in health care in mind, but the U.S. Army had other ideas. The Army drafted Giese and sent him to Vietnam as a medic to care for fellow soldiers and Vietnamese civilians. While there, he ran across an article in an American newspaper about the emerging field of physician assistants (PA). After he was discharged from the Army, Giese returned to SLU and graduated with the inaugural class of PAs in 1973, making him a pioneer in the field in the St. Louis area.  
Giese held a career as a well-respected practicing physician assistant for nearly 40 years, where much of his time was spent caring for young adults in the student health center at Washington University. He was the only PA on staff until he retired in 2007. His clinical expertise was so highly regarded during his tenure there that other physicians would frequently consult him on difficult or unique patient cases. “I enjoyed working with the college students because they are bright, ask a lot of questions and are culturally diverse,” he said. 
Never forgetting where he got his start, Giese has served as an external proctor for monthly PA practical skills testing. While proctoring, he gives the students feedback on their performance and shares stories from his years of expertise to help them improve. Giese is a regular contributor to the David W. Wagner Scholarship Fund, named in honor of one of his classmates who later served as chair of SLU’s PA department.  
“Bill Giese is an incredible friend to the Edward and Margaret Doisy College of Health Sciences at Saint Louis University," said DCHS Dean Bernard Rousseau, Ph.D., M.M.H.C., CCC-SLP. "Bill remains incredibly supportive of our commitment to preparing physician assistants and exemplifies a dedication to his profession and to service for others. We are excited to honor his contributions as this year’s Alumni Merit Award Recipient.” 
Outside of his engagement with SLU, Giese participates in veterans’ history programs and volunteers with Oasis International, an organization that helps refugees settle in the St. Louis area. Giese also volunteers with Christian Friends of New Americans, where he tutors elementary and middle school students — sometimes side-by-side with SLU students — all to better understand the challenges faced by the community he serves and ensure he is providing help to the best of his ability.  
Physician Assistant Program Director Genevieve DelRosario, M.H.S., PA-C described Giese’s strong impact on the University’s PA program and the community. 
“Whether through military service, clinical practice, volunteering within the PA program, or volunteering in the community, Bill is passionate about making life better for others, especially children and young adults," she said. "He demonstrates this passion for service through action and is an exemplar of the University and DCHS mission through his selfless service and support.”  
Saint Louis University established the Alumni Merit Awards in 1955 to recognize outstanding alumni and acknowledge the notable success of the University’s alumni. 
Those selected for the award are alumni who have lived the mission of Saint Louis University in daily life and who have achieved outstanding success in civil leadership, professional and social welfare activities, intellectual and cultural pursuits and have a continued interest and service toward supporting the enhancement of Saint Louis University. 

About SLU’s Edward and Margaret Doisy College of Health Sciences:

The Doisy College of Health Sciences has provided students with the tools and education to become well-prepared healthcare professionals since 1929. The Doisy College of Health Sciences offers healthcare education at the baccalaureate, master’s, doctoral and professional levels in a variety of health-related fields.

About Saint Louis University:

Saint Louis University is a Catholic, Jesuit institution that values academic excellence, life-changing research, compassionate health care, and a strong commitment to faith and service. Founded in 1818, the University fosters the intellectual and character development of more than 13,000 students on two campuses in St. Louis and Madrid, Spain. Building on a legacy of more than 200 years, Saint Louis University continues to move forward with an unwavering commitment to a higher purpose, a greater good.