Donald T. Bosch

39BS, 41MD Service 1987

Donald T. Bosch, 39BS, 41MD, is an alumnus who richly deserves to be called a humanitarian. It was in this spirit that he trained at the University of Iowa to become a physician.

After graduating, Dr. Bosch entered the U.S. Medical Corps, where he served with the 78th Infantry Division in the European Theatre and was awarded the Bronze Star for action in Germany. From 1946 to 1951, he performed his surgical residency at Bellvue Hospital, New York City, and St. Barnabas Medical Center, Newark, New Jersey.

In 1951, Dr. Bosch and his wife, Eloise, began what was to be a lifelong commitment to the people of the Middle East. Under the aegis of the Department of World Ministries, the Reformed Church of America, they traveled first to Iraq, where Dr. Bosch worked as a surgeon for two years while the couple learned Arabic. Having gained reasonable proficiency in Arabic, the Bosches moved to the Sultanate of Oman. Except for a year each in the countries of Kuwait and Bahrain, filling in for furloughing colleagues, the Bosches lived for the next 30 years in Oman, continuing a work that had been started by their predecessors in 1892.

During some of their time in Oman, Dr. Bosch was the only surgeon in the entire country of 1.5 million people. His patient log could include seeing 200 people and performing as many as ten operations daily. Working under difficult conditions (as late as 1970, electricity was a novelty and the Sultanate contained less than 30 kilometers of paved road), Dr. Bosch contributed to the modernization of health care in Oman. In recognition of his achievements, Sultan Qaboos bin Saeed presented Dr. Bosch with the "Order of Oman" in 1972. He was the first American to be so honored.

Although Dr. Bosch retired in 1984 after ten years as Medical Officer in charge of Khoula Hospital, he returned to Oman in 1985 at the request of the Sultan to serve as special consultant to the Minister of Health.

Dr. Bosch and his wife, who worked for years as a grade school teacher in Oman, have also distinguished themselves in an unusual avocation. Their interesting beachcombing in Oman developed into serious study of conchology. Together, they have thus far discovered nine new species of molluscs and have produced a book, Seashells of Oman.

Both Dr. and Mrs. Bosch received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Hope College, Holland, Michigan, in 1986.

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