Four years ago, Richard Ezzeddine began his freshman year at Baylor as a premed student with a great deal of anticipation and a tinge of concern. He felt anticipation because he was about to enter a whole new world of learning and discovery. The tinge of concern was created, in his words by "the high academic standard that I had already set for myself as valedictorian of my high school. I felt I had to maintain that standard at any cost."
The journey upon which he would embark at Baylor would be both arduous and amazing.
Ezzeddine literally "hit the ground running." He began work on a bachelor of science degree in biology. He joined organizations and honor societies, including the Freshman Class Council, Alpha Epsilon Delta Premedical Honor Society, Alpha Chi Honor Society, Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society, Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, and the Mortar Board National Senior Honor Society.
In addition, he received numerous honors, scholar-ships, and awards. Most notable among these were the Baylor Presidential Scholarship, the Henry L. Robinson Phi Beta Kappa scholarship, Outstanding Senior in Biology Award, and the Cornelia M. Smith Biology Award.
In the summer of 2000, Ezzeddine was one of a handful of students selected to attend the prestigious Michael E. DeBakey Summer Surgery program in Houston.
His ultimate achievement, however, came at the commencement ceremony on May 18, 2002, when he was named Baylor University's Outstanding Graduating Senior, graduating in the Honors Program, summa cum laude.
Ezzeddine said this recognition and induction into Phi Beta Kappa-the oldest and most prestigious honor society in the nation-are indelibly etched in his mind.
In addition to academic achievements, Ezzeddine was actively involved in the Waco community. He volunteered at Providence Health Center, tutored underprivileged children for Mission Waco, helped with the Children's Miracle Network Halloween Carnival, and served the needy through Baylor's "Steppin' Out" Program.
Ezzeddine also worked as an intramural referee and waited tables while attending Baylor. During his senior year, he was employed with the Princeton Review-one of the two leading organizations that prepare students for a variety of scholastic tests-as an MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) instructor, and as an LSAT (Law School Admission Test) instructor. As a premed student, Ezzeddine had to take the MCAT. So, he attended the preparatory course that Princeton Review offered and did so well that he was almost immediately recruited to teach the course to other students.
The circumstances under which he began teaching the LSAT are similar.
"I really wanted to teach LSAT as well as MCAT," he said, "so one day I decided to take a practice LSAT, which is something that anyone who is affiliated with the Princeton Review can do. I scored so high on the practice test that Princeton Review asked me if I would like to begin teaching it as well."
Asked about the factors and forces that make him excel, Ezzeddine said, "There are many things that motivate me. Foremost among them is my obsession with being the best. Other things that motivate me are upholding my family's tradition of achievement and learning, making my parents proud, and acquiring as much information as I can about the secrets of humankind and the world in which we live."
He said that he owes his mentor and good friend, Dr. F. Ray Wilson II of the biology department, a debt of gratitude for taking him under his wing and guiding him throughout his years at Baylor.
"Without Dr. Wilson's support, I am certain that many of my hopes and dreams would not have been realized," Ezzeddine said.
Ezzeddine is currently a resident of Houston, Texas, where he attends Baylor College of Medicine. He plans to specialize in brain surgery.