Robert P. Colen, DO, a respected surgeon who was Western University of Health Sciences’ 2011 East West Scholarship Dinner honoree, died suddenly from a heart attack on Sunday, July 15, 2012.

Colen, a 1994 graduate of WesternU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific, was an orthopedic surgeon in the Detroit and Metro Detroit area who specialized in trauma and fracture repair.

Colen will be remembered for his surgical skill; his ability to connect and communicate with patients; his frequently articulated appreciation of his office staff at Orthopedic Trauma Specialists and the staff at Bostford Hospital; and his acts of charitable giving to causes that interested him, according to a hospital press release.

He was born in Seoul, South Korea, and was adopted by Paul and Grace Colen at six months of age. He was raised in Claremont, Calif., attended Claremont and Upland high schools, earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and earned his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from COMP in 1994.

He and one other WesternU student were the first recipients of the Asian American Scholarship, which later became the East West Scholarship. The annual East West Scholarship Dinner raises money to provide 30 scholarships to WesternU students.

Colen had fond memories of WesternU and was a generous supporter of the East West Scholarship for many years. He was the honoree at the East West Scholarship Dinner in April 2011, and brought his family to California from Michigan to accept the award.

"It’s notable that he overcame great obstacles to become a physician," said WesternU Founding President Philip Pumerantz, PhD. "He’s remembered as an outstanding student and one who was an inspiration to all of us. We will all miss him very much, but he has left a very strong legacy of his support of the East West Scholarship and students pursuing health professions degrees."

Colen was the beloved husband of Rita for 30 years; devoted father of Stephanie (Kelley) Brossy and Alex Colen; loving son of Paul Colen and the late Grace Berg; and dear brother of Barbara (Jerry) Higgins, Carol Martin, Jeannie (Dennis) Lieb and Cindy (Harry) Bier.

Robert and Rita’s son-in-law, Kelley, is a COMP 2011 alumnus, with a residency at Botsford Orthopedics.