Mercyhurst Magazine Fall 2022

Dr. Ryan Molli ’01: The Carpenter Surgeon

’02, who, incidentally, was at Mercyhurst at the same time he was. She was among the first students from Ireland to study at Mercyhurst through the John F. Kennedy Irish Scholarship Competition. The two were aware of each other on campus but didn’t date until Potter looked her up in London, where she was working as an event planner. Today, they are the parents of three young sons: Conor, Finn, and Declan. GREG BEATO In addition to being a doctor of internal medicine in private practice and a team physician with Virginia Tech Athletics, Greg Beato, D.O., also teaches medical students and residents. It is there, sharing his knowledge and experience, that he finds himself in a frequent state of reminiscence. “Every day I teach, there are situations that arise that I think of Brad and Sue* and what we talked about when I was 18 years old,” he said. “Mercyhurst gave me a phenomenal foundation for what I do.” (*Brad Jacobson is chair of Sports Medicine; Sue Denny Sweeney ’88 is assistant athletic director for health and wellness. They were then faculty in the Sports Medicine program.) A native of Rochester, New York, Beato graduated from

Natural elements like stone and timeless barnwood, accented by a blazing fireplace, exude warmth and give the building’s spacious interior a feeling of old-world charm. It’s an environment reminiscent of a rustic ski lodge. Inside the lobby is Lucantino’s Trattoria, a coffeehouse and café that takes its name from the owner’s three sons: Luca, Anthony, and Santino. But this is no alpine accommodation, nor is it a hospitality enterprise. It is a doctor’s office. More precisely, it is the Whole Health Orthopedic Institute in Meadville, Pennsylvania, founded by Mercyhurst Sports Medicine alumnus Ryan Molli, D.O. ’01. It is where Molli maintains his orthopedic surgery practice. “I did one year of hospital employment, but it wasn’t for me,” he said. “I wanted a private, independent, concierge practice where everyone feels like a VIP patient.” That kind of caring began at home, where his father and three sisters, including one who also graduated from Mercyhurst, all pursued teaching careers. Even the

Mercyhurst with a Bachelor of Science in Sports Medicine. In addition to earning a degree that he has parlayed into a rewarding career, he played volleyball for the Lakers and met the woman who would become his wife, fellow Sports Medicine grad and physical therapist Susan Gonnam ’01 of Jamestown, Pennsylvania. Beato also credited Dr. Greg Coppola, a former team physician at Mercyhurst, who mentored him in his medical school quest, ultimately leading him toward his own alma mater, the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Although Beato had his sights set on being a physician from the get-go, Ryan Molli ’01, a fellow Sports Medicine student and Beato’s roommate his junior and senior years, wasn’t so sure. But Coppola convinced Molli that it was his destiny and, indeed, Molli made it so. (See next story.)

woman he would later marry, Karen, is a teacher. Although Molli took a different path in terms of caring for people, education remains a constant. In addition to his clinical practice, he is also an orthopedic consultant

who has traveled and lectured on hip and knee procedures all over the United States as well as multiple European countries, Canada, and Australia. For a man who craves family and the comforts of home, he’s come full circle. It started with Mercyhurst as his



Beato, meanwhile, completed his internal medicine training in Newark, Delaware, and later earned a Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. It’s there that he made his home and maintains a robust private practice in internal medicine. Much to the delight of his wife and sons, Marco and Dominic, avid Hokies fans, Beato continues his work with Virginia Tech as one of the head team physicians, currently providing sideline coverage for men’s basketball and women’s soccer. “When I look back at my training, I never regret the path I took,” Beato said. “A lot of my friends did biology or a different subset of biology training, but the route I took with sports medicine helped me get comfortable with student athletes and develop a good bedside manner and humanistic approach to medicine.” Beato also said that as a practicing Catholic, he appreciated the way Mercyhurst addressed faith and religion, and he still remembers the open-mindedness with which they were conveyed. “Mercyhurst blended Catholic tenets with other faiths,” he said. “Nothing was ever forced, which enabled us to keep our religious roots and accept others, not divide us from them.”

college choice. It was just shy of 45 minutes from his home in Meadville, and his tenure overlapped one year with his sister, Kristin Held ’98, and all four years with his best friend, Jared Oakes ’00, now a prominent Cleveland, Ohio, lawyer. “Mercyhurst fit my personality … small but not too small … close but not too close. … It was a true campus with an identity all its own,” he said. He did not have a specific career plan when he started college. He just knew that his interests fell into three areas: the musculoskeletal system, athletics, and taking care of people. He decided to major in Sports Medicine with a concentration in Pre-Med, thinking that perhaps he would go to chiropractic school. His journey to becoming a physician, specifically an orthopedic surgeon, was one of several moments of enlightenment, not to mention meeting the right people at the right time, key among them fellow Mercyhurst Sports Medicine student Greg Beato ’01 (see separate story) and longtime mentor Dr. Greg Coppola, a team physician for Mercyhurst at one time.


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