Attributing much of his career success to the professors who impacted him during his undergraduate years.

Member of Adelphi University’s Profiles in Success program.


Memorable faculty: Dr. Ramon Grillo, Dr. Harold Grob, and Professor Warren Eickelberg. Professor Eickelberg often peppered class with interesting and often hilarious anecdotes to get his message across. Aside from being a professor, he was also our premedical advisor. I truly believe he deeply cared for all of us and tried his hardest to get each and every one of us into medical school.

Why he chose Adelphi: 
I wanted to stay in New York. I looked at other schools in the area, but they were too big. When I visited Adelphi, everyone I met was friendly and I got a good feeling being on campus.

Value of an Adelphi education: I am proud to have chosen Adelphi as my undergraduate program. The education I received was impeccable. During my career I have been partners with physicians from Harvard, Yale, and Columbia Universities – all graduates from Ivy League Schools, yet I was able to stand right there with them.

Advice to Adelphi students: Make the most of your days at Adelphi. Study hard but remember to occasionally put the book down and have some fun. Make good friends and try to keep in touch after graduation. Enjoy whatever field of study you choose and strive to be a true expert in that field and deliver your best every time. The bottom line is enjoying what you do no matter what anyone else may think.

Adelphi Changed Me Completely

Sometimes professors have the special ability to inspire their students – on campus and years after graduating. “I met Dr. Grillo on the first day of class and we are friends to this very day,” says Dr. Messina. “At Adelphi he taught me more than biology and histology – he taught me the meaning of integrity.”

A biology major at Adelphi, Dr. Messina recalls one anecdote in particular that encapsulates Dr. Grillo’s character. “A teachers strike took place my freshman year. All of my classes had been cancelled thus far that morning,” he says. “When I went to my biology 101 class at 1:00 p.m., I was expecting to see an empty room. Instead I saw Dr. Grillo, sitting at his desk with a handful of students.”

“Dr. Grillo did not think to say, ‘well since there are only a few of us here, we’ll just call it a day.’ Instead he did what he was scheduled to do: teach biology 101, and indeed he did,” says Dr. Messina. “I remember that day as if it was yesterday. His actions remain permanently in my mind.”

During his senior year, Dr. Messina was asked by Dr. Grillo to assist him in the capacity of a histology teaching assistant after he graduated. He accepted the offer. “It was the best decision I could have made,” says Dr. Messina, who found that the “Grillo life lessons” he acquired during this experience would guide him down the road, throughout medical school and his residency.

The same year that he worked under Dr. Grillo’s direction was the year Dr. Messina was accepted into the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, where he enrolled in 1982.

After completing his internship in general practice at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1986, he began his internal medicine residency at Long Island Jewish Hospital, before transferring to University Hospital at Stony Brook to begin an anesthesiology residency in 1987.

He remained at University Hospital upon completing his residency, as an assistant professor in the department of anesthesiology. He was awarded the Paul J. Sari Award for excellence in teaching. In 1994, he left academics for private practice at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson, New York, where several of his colleagues are also Adelphi alumni.

Dr. Messina attributes much of the career success he enjoys today to the professors who impacted him during his undergraduate years at the University. “Adelphi changed me completely,” he says. “When I arrived I was immature and not a great student to speak of. The professors, with their no nonsense approach, forced me to ‘get with the program.’ The education I received at Adelphi was outstanding.”

His wife, Dr. Barbara Messina Ph.D. ’99, is a professor at Stony Brook in the department of nursing, pharmacology, and research development. The Messinas have a daughter, who “I am sure she will also one day be a proud Adelphi alumna,” says Dr. Messina.

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