From scoring a 14 on his ACT to becoming a decorated military officer, physician and clinical researcher, Col. Shon Anthony Remich has followed God’s lead to live an amazing life.
If you were to ask Colonel Shon Anthony Remich what he majored in at OBU, he in turn would have to ask if you are referring to day one or day two.
Remich graduated high school in a class of 11 at Lahoma, Oklahoma, and freely admits he really did not have a concept of college. His parents separated when he was eight years old and he lived with his mother, who had not pursued a college degree. College wasn’t talked about very much at his high school, however his Dad had attended college and asked his son to go for one year. If he didn’t like it, he could stop and pursue other avenues.
During his senior year of high school, Remich surrendered to the ministry and felt that his vocation would be in missions. After graduation, he joined a ministry group called, “Friendship Ministries.” This was a group of young people that traveled 11 months out of the year sharing the gospel through performing (singing, puppets and drama). After joining Friendship, his team toured and performed in Canada. Toward the end of his “tour” he began to think of college.
He had always considered himself a Southern Baptist.
“I was thrilled to find out that there was a Southern Baptist college in my own home state of Oklahoma,” he said. “I did not know the first thing about applying and this was before the internet. After stumbling around a bit, I applied. OBU was the only college to which I applied. I actually didn’t realize that you could be turned down for admission. Thinking back, it really feels like ignorance was, in fact, bliss.”
After taking the ACT and having a discussion with an admissions counselor there was significant concern about his score of 14 on the ACT.
“Thus, I started OBU on academic probation before I ever took a class,” he said. “I spent my first day at OBU as a music major, the second day I asked to change to pre-med. I remember the person at the bursar’s office asking if I was ‘kidding.’ She said she would introduce me to Dr. [Jim] Hurley and if I still wanted to change my major after that I could.”
Where this Led
Remich graduated in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a Bachelor of Science in biology.
He received his medical degree from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in 1994 and completed his pediatric internship and residency in 1997, post-doctoral degrees from Georgetown (Clinical Pharmacology) in 2001 and Walter Reed Army Medical Center (Allergy and Immunology) in 2008.
Remich has had a very active and thriving career as a military officer, physician and clinical researcher, serving in the Army for 23 years and is currently working in public vaccine development.
He headed up teams that have worked on treatments for Malaria his first three-year tour in Kenya, and on the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS relief during his second tour in Kenya, and the United States first Ebola vaccine. Recently, Remich served as senior director for Vaccine Clinical Research and Development and a member of the team that developed Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID vaccine. Currently, he serves as vice president for clinical development and operations for Takeda Pharmaceuticals.
He’s received numerous awards and honors during his career, including the Railey E. Academic Psychology Award at OBU, the Intern of the Year award at William Beaumont Army Medical Center, the Legion of Merit, two Meritorious Service Medals, four Army Commendation Medals and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.
Remich has used his extra time outside of work for ministry-related endeavors. He has a heart for helping others move forward and grow in relationship to Christ. He is an ordained minister, has been discipling men for more than 30 years, is on the board of Go Face to Face (creator of “One on One with God” discipleship), is currently an elder at Calvary Fellowship Church in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, and is a board member of Beaver Creek Haven Farms and Ministries, which he and Kim established to extend the ministry of the church and help the broken find healing.
Staying the Course
“As one might imagine, the first couple of years at OBU were difficult and there were a number of well-meaning friends that felt a tough love approach was in order, expressing that it was not likely I would make it as a pre-med student,” he said. “However, what I lacked in background and education, God made up for in an intense passion for learning. After class I would run back to Brotherhood dorm so I could maximize my study time. Weekends were paradise, just me and my books. This sentiment remains intact today. People think I’m weird, but that’s only because I am.”
Remich learned that a key component of letting God take the lead in his life was to constantly pay attention to what God was telling him or showing him. An example of this occurred during his junior year at OBU.
He had started exploring psychology and added it as a second degree. Between the challenges with family, class load and self-imposed performance standards, what he had achieved was total exhaustion.
Remich needed to slow down and listen, because he was about to receive a clear message.
OBU’s connections with the Inter-national Mission Board provided Remich an opportunity to go on a two-month mission trip to the Philippines.
“During that visit, while staying with a local pastor, we returned from ministering and a young boy had been walking in the local trash heap and had cut his foot,” Remich said. “When I arrived, he was near hypovolemic shock from blood loss. While the cut was significant, he had lost an enormous amount of blood from walking and being upright which augmented the blood loss. I asked those tending to him to lay him down. We put pressure on the wound and sent him to the hospital. When I asked the people there why they had forced him to walk around, they said, people who walk around are well, thus, if he walks around, he will be well. All my effort to shake wanting to be a physician could not overcome that experience and served to help me double down on my efforts to pursue that calling.”