GSSM Announces 32nd Annual Commencement Speaker

April 12, 2021

GSSM Announces 1990 Graduate, Combat and Emergency Medicine Physician to Deliver 32nd Commencement Address

The South Carolina Governor’s School for Science + Mathematics (GSSM) Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that Dr. Vikhyat Bebarta, Director of the CU Anschutz Center for Combat and Battlefield Research and 1990 GSSM graduate, will deliver GSSM’s 32nd Commencement address on the GSSM soccer field in Hartsville, South Carolina, on Saturday, May 22, 2021.

Vik Bebarta, MD is a senior physician-scientist with extensive military leadership. He is a tenured professor, departmental vice chair, research center director, and executive at the University of Colorado (CU) School of Medicine. His international reputation in emergency medicine and medical toxicology/pharmacology was built on systematic advances in combat casualty care, resuscitation, and chemical countermeasure drug development and research. Dr. Bebarta’s work has shaped military and civilian prehospital and emergency trauma care and national policy. He has been continuously federally funded for twenty years to solve the toughest clinical challenges for civilian and military care.

He is Founding Director for the Center for Combat and Battlefield (COMBAT) Research, an emergency medicine, surgery, and anesthesiology joint venture targeting combat casualty care research, and a federally-funded NIH translational drug development lab Translational Innovation and Antidote Development (TRIAD) Research Colorado. He serves as Vice Chair for Strategy and Growth for the Department of Emergency Medicine, and on a five-member National Security Advisor Group reporting directly to the CU President.

Dr. Bebarta is a Colonel in the US Air Force Reserve in the Office of the Chief Scientist. A decorated veteran with four combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, he served fourteen years of active duty. In this capacity, he led several large departments and innovative programs, including Director of the Enroute Care Research Center, Branch Chief of the Joint Trauma System (Department of Defense Center of Excellence for Trauma), and Chief of Emergency Medicine and the Department of Defense Combat Theater Consultant for Medical Toxicology during each deployment. He leads several federal research steering committees, research foundations, healthcare industry collaborations, and advisory boards. He has published 200 manuscripts, has been awarded federal research and innovation grants totaling tens of millions of dollars, and has been presented numerous awards in recognition of his career excellence and leadership.

Dr. Bebarta grew up in South Carolina, where he was a member of the first graduating class of the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science + Mathematics. He completed his undergraduate studies at the US Air Force Academy as a Distinguished Graduate and collegiate boxer, medical school at the George Washington University, emergency medicine residency at Denver Health Medical Center/University of Colorado (Chief Resident), and medical toxicology fellowship at the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center. He is an avid runner, skier, traveler, youth coach, and father to three amazing kids.

GSSM Interim President Mr. Danny Dorsel welcomes the selection of Dr. Bebarta to deliver the commencement address. “We are honored to have Dr. Bebarta return to his alma mater to address the Class of 2021. As a classmate of Dr. Bebarta, I can attest that he was a determined, hardworking and smart student, much like the students that followed him and continue to be at GSSM today. Dr. Bebarta’s many accomplishments post-GSSM, are a testament to what a GSSM educational experience can propel motivated and talented students to achieve. He is an inspiration to us all.”