Tree-planting ceremony held on Salem Campus to honor the late Dr. Frank Apicella
"Without Dr. Frank Apicella and his dedication to educating those in his community, we would not be here today, and I would not be in this program.”
That was the statement made by Asa DeSanzo, a second-year student in the Radiology Technology program on the Kent State Salem Campus, as she helped dedicate a tree planted in memory of Dr. Frank Apicella who died in August.
“I wanted to do something small so we can always remember the impact that Dr. Frank Apicella and his family have had,” she said. “This family goes on beautiful trips and seems to surround themselves in nature. The idea of having this tree planted felt fitting. And while it is a small gesture, I hope that it shows the gratitude from the community.”
Dr. Frank Apicella is credited with starting the radiology/imaging program on the Salem Campus more than 40 years ago. He and his brother, Dr. Salvatore Apicella, first founded an in-house training program at what was then the Salem Community Hospital and appointed the late Roy Bell as its initial medical director.
In 1981, the program was relocated to the Kent State Salem Campus and became an associate degree program under the leadership of Roy Bell and his wife, Shirlee, while Dr. Frank Apicella continued as medical director of the program.
In 1994, Dr. Frank Apicella’s son, Dr. Peter Apicella, joined the team as a faculty member and eventual medical director, a role he continues to fill. He also serves on the Salem Campus advisory board and is a radiologist at Salem Regional Medical Center.
“(My father and uncle) had a vision of an educational program which would prepare local students with the knowledge and skills they would need to work in an x-ray department,” explained Dr. Peter Apicella. “We are fortunate that our Kent State radiology technologist program has continued to grow and attract quality students from around the area. … Over the past 57 years, more than 1,000 students have gone on to worthwhile and caring careers in radiologic technology, thanks to the quality education provided by all of us. …On behalf of the Apicellas, we thank Kent State for this remembrance of our father and his passion for education. We hope for the continued success of this outstanding program.”
As medical imaging technology advanced beyond x-ray, so did the program on the Salem Campus. In 1995, Dr. Peter Apicella worked with retired program director Jan Gibson to expand the existing Kent State associate degree program into one that provides bachelor’s degrees in specialty areas such as computed technology (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), diagnostic medical sonography (ultrasound), radiation therapy and, at one time, nuclear medicine.
Ten clinical sites from around the area host Kent State students, providing invaluable learning experiences in actual healthcare facilities.
“I did not know Dr. Frank Apicella personally, but I wish I had,” DeSanzo shared. “I have heard many stories and see the legacy he left behind. I know of Dr. Frank from his son, Dr. Pete.
“Dr. Pete continues in his father’s legacy of being an influence on those around him. Dr. Frank was an avid learner and teacher and he loved to share his knowledge. His son, Dr. Pete, is the same way. If everybody in the world had just a small fraction of Dr. Frank’s care and dedication, I believe remarkable things could happen. I hope that this memorial serves as a reminder of what kindness, generosity and dedication can do.”
Cutline A: Unveiling the memorial plaque dedicated to the late Dr. Frank Apicella were (from left) his son, Dr. Peter Apicella, current medical director of the rad tech program at Kent State Salem and advisory board member; student Asa DeSanzo; and Dr. Brad Bielski, interim dean and CAO at Kent State Salem.
Cutline B: The Apicella family gathered around the tree planted in memory of the late Dr. Frank Apicella.
Cutline C: Current and past faculty and staff members of the rad tech program
Cutline D: The Apicella family was joined by community members, advisory board members, former and current students, staff from Salem Regional Medical, along with Kent State Salem employees to honor Dr. Frank Apicella, founder of the rad tech program on the campus.