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Goodbye and Good Luck to The Class of 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

 Students were presented with their doctoral hoods at Convocation but wouldn't get their diplomas until later in the afternoon, at the UMB Commencement ceremonies.

Laughter mixed easily with tears at the Baltimore Convention Center Hilton on May 21 as the Class of 2010 celebrated their convocation. Hundreds of friends and family were on hand to cheer the graduates as they reached this milestone in their medical education, receiving their doctoral hoods and officially becoming practicing physicians.


“The degree you will receive is much more than a piece of paper,” said E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean, University of Maryland School of Medicine. “It is much more than initials behind your name. It is much more than a white coat. It is an emblem of trust. Society has entrusted physicians with its health and well-being, and with that trust comes a responsibility that is unmatched in other professions.”

This was a point often emphasized by Larry Anderson, PhD, professor of Anatomy & Neurobiology. His death last week added a bittersweet tone to the convocation proceedings. Dr. Anderson was to once again be the recipient of an American Medical Student Association Golden Apple Award for his pre-clinical work with students. This award honors faculty who have shown particular interest in medical education and excellence in teaching.


“Dr. Larry Anderson was the living, breathing definition of this award,” said Michael Grant, president of the Class of 2010, who presented the faculty awards. “No man more encompassed the attributes we sought to recognize through the Golden Apple. From the moment each student nervously entered his classroom until the moment they confidently exited it, Dr. Anderson had us captivated. As he led us through the mysteries of the human body, his passion for the subject was contagious. Equal parts educational and hilarious, his lectures were the cornerstone of our early medical school experience. We were so lucky to walk reluctantly into the toughest experience of our lives and have Dr. Anderson waiting for us with open arms.”


Dr. Anderson often got through to his students through the use of stories. It was a storyteller who was chosen as this year’s keynote speaker – Dr. Neal Baer, a pediatrician better known for his work as the executive producer of “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” and as a former writer and producer for “ER.” He noted how he has used his storytelling talents as much in his medical practice as in his television work, as a way of advocating for his patients. “Use the stories that stir you, and tell them any way you can,” he advised. “Use the tools you’ve learned here, and speak out. That is your mission,” he emphasized, “to improve people’s lives.”


“You don’t have to be a television writer to have an impact,” he continued. “Write op-ed pieces, work in grassroots organizations, testify before the legislature, run for the Senate, debate your enemies, march for justice, stand for truth, teach, blog, Twitter, use mobile technology. Invent new ways to improve your patients’ lives.”


Our students are looking forward to facing that challenge. “It didn’t hit me until some time last night that when I leave here today I will officially be an M.D.,” said David Halpin. “I’m excited, but there is also a little apprehension that comes along with the responsibility that will be put upon me once I walk out of here. But it’s been a great journey. I love this school, I’ve had a great experience here, but I’m excited to move on.” David will soon be relocating to Boston, for a residency in Internal Medicine at Tufts.


“I feel like I’ve waited my whole life to get here!” admitted Ashina Singh. Leanne Foster agreed. “It’s been a longtime dream for me and my friends, and it’s great to share it with everybody.” Leanne will stick close to home for a bit, doing a transitional intern year at Union Memorial in Baltimore before heading to the University of TexasHouston for an anesthesiology residency. Ashina is going to the University of Cincinnati for an internal medicine residency.


Medical school really has been a long journey for Brian Harkavy. “I’m very excited to finally get here after all this time,” said Brian, who has been working toward his medical degree for seven years. “It’s great to be moving on and taking the next step, but at the same time there’s a little bit of disappointment and sadness that you’re leaving behind something you’ve come to know so well.” Brian is heading to Pittsburgh for a residency in Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital.


The medical students’ convocation was not the only celebration on campus this week. Pre-commencement ceremonies were held May 20 for students graduating from the School of Medicine who are not pursuing an M.D. These ceremonies included the Department of Medical and Research Technology, the Graduate Program in Life Sciences, the Masters in Genetic Counseling Program, the Masters in Public Health program and the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science's PhD, DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy) and DScPT (Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy) programs.

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University of Maryland School of Medicine
Caelie Haines
Manager, Public Affairs
(410) 706-7508

 Dean Reece welcomed keynote speaker Neal Baer, a licensed pediatrician as well as a television writer and producer.

 Newly-minted doctors David Halpin (left) and Brian Harkavy.

 Drs. Ashina Singh (from left), Leanne Foster and Jennifer Han.

 Six women graduated from the School of Medicine's Masters in Genetic Counceling program this year.

 Doctors of Physical Therapy celebrate their graduation from the Department of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science.

 The Department of Medical and Research Technology also had their share of happy graduates.

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