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Dr. Susan Galvin ’96
Galvin ’96 Honored
for Sept. 11 Bravery

Dr. Susan Galvin ’96 was seeing patients the morning of Sept. 11 at the DiLorenzo Health Clinic at the Pentagon when an officer ran in and screamed for everyone to evacuate the building. In a rush of people she was swept outside.

Almost immediately, she returned to the clinic for supplies, then headed out to help. In the wake of the crash of a jetliner into the Pentagon, Galvin and her colleagues searched for victims and set up triage stations to administer medical care to the wounded, many of whom were firefighters.

For her efforts, Galvin, an Air Force captain, was awarded the Soldier’s Medal for Heroism. She was one of six from the DiLorenzo Health Clinic at the Pentagon to receive the recognition.

The Soldier’s Medal is awarded for distinguished heroism involving personal hazard and the voluntary risk of life under conditions not involving conflict with an armed enemy.

Galvin almost objects to being singled out to receive a medal, “because everyone in our whole clinic put out all that they could that day to help out,” she says. “I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and tried to do the right thing.”

Only in the last two years had the clinic moved from the opposite side of the Pentagon, where the plane crashed on Sept. 11. Galvin describes her proximity to this disaster as “unfathomable.”

“There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about it and just thank God that I was protected,” she says.

Susan (Costa) Galvin is a family physician and chief of preventive services at the DiLorenzo Health Clinic. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Rensselaer and a medical degree from Albany Medical College in Rensselaer’s six-year accelerated biomedical program.

Mixed emotions crowd Galvin’s reflections on the events of Sept. 11. New to the clinic, she saw very quickly the quality and dedication of her colleagues.

“Even though I would never, ever want anything like this to happen, I came away with a real sense of pride of being in the military,” says Galvin.

“It really touched my heart, and made me proud to serve.”

Rensselaer Magazine: June 2002
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