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It's Graduation Day for the Class of 2012

Friday, May 18, 2012

 Class president Jay Bergquist receives his hood from Dr. Richard Colgan.

The brand new doctors of the Class of 2012 received their doctoral hoods on May 18, 2012 in a convocation ceremony at the Baltimore Hilton. “Convocation is a time of celebration and reflection,” 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. “As I look back over these last few years, I am struck by your ability to balance an intense desire to achieve personal and professional goals and a strong determination to make a difference in the lives of others. Your optimism, enthusiasm, and positive outlook are absolutely inspiring. Hold fast to the vision that you have on this day, and let that vision fuel you throughout your careers.”

Keynote speaker Darrell Kirch, MD, president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges, urged the students to always keep ethics in the forefront when considering their future actions as physicians. “The beautiful simplicity of medical ethics is that there are only four principles,” he says. “One, benevolence: Do good. You will get up every morning intending to do good for your patients. Two, non-malfeasance: Do no harm. Sadly, the more we learn, the more inadvertent opportunities we have to do harm. Too often we see that play out in end-of-life decisions, where we focus on prolonging life at the expense of decreased suffering. Third, autonomy. Not our autonomy as doctors, but the autonomy of our patients. They’re the ones who make the decisions. And the fourth is the one we struggle with the most – social justice. It’s our obligation to make sure all patients are treated fairly, and that we use that precious nearly three billion dollars a year we’re currently spending on healthcare in this country wisely. But when we look at the healthcare system today, we see it full of all forms of injustice.”

Kirch admitted that in the face of such challenges, many will want to take the easy way out and look out only for their self interests. “That’s when you need to remember that ethical commitment. But I think you’re the right people. I’ve learned a lot about your class. You wouldn’t have done [the many community projects in which you’ve participated] if you didn’t want to make a better healthcare system. By reaching out, you’ve already shown you understand your ethical commitment….I hope you find the courage that we all need as physicians to make good on your ethical obligations.”

Class president Jay Bergquist is confident he and his classmates will rise to the challenge. “The future is always an uncertain time, but these days, particularly so,” he said in his speech to the graduates. “The good news is that we are the ones who will have the chance to define the future of medicine. I am excited for that opportunity and cannot think of a better group of people to have as my teammates as we move forward into the great, exciting unknown that lies before us.”

Exciting is the best word to describe the atmosphere at the Hilton as the graduates finally reached this pinnacle in their education. “This is one of the biggest days of my life, I’ve been waiting for it forever!” declared Justin Kung, who is off to New York University for a residency in Psychiatry. “The last year has been a blur, kind of like a dream, because this is my dream. I can’t say enough about it. Thank you so much to everyone who helped get me here. It’s been a lot of hard work, but I’ve met some of the greatest people, whom I will keep with me the rest of my life, great friends who have gotten me through these great challenges.”

Hemal Sampat, who will be doing a combined internal medicine/pediatrics residency at Hershey Medical Center/Penn State College of Medicine in Pennsylvania, says his four years here have definitely changed him for the better. “It’s not just from learning so much and becoming part of this profession, but getting to interact with so many amazing people and such an amazing class. I feel I have become so much better, so much more mature. I’m ready now. I’m really ready to go out there – even though the thought of graduating is absolutely terrifying!”


Pre-commencement celebrations were also held on May 17, 2012 for students who are pursuing a degree at the School of Medicine other than an M.D. These ceremonies included the Graduate Program in Life Sciences (GPILS), the Department of Medical and Research Technology (DMRT), the Pathology Assistants program, the Masters in Genetic Counseling program, the Masters in Public Health program, and the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science (PTRS).


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See Our Facebook Gallery for More Pictures From This Event

 Keynote speaker Darrell Kirch, MD, from AAMC

 Dean Reece speaks about the many successful doctors who have graduated from the School of Medicine in its 205-year history.

 Mace bearer Jordan Warnick, PhD, was chosen by the students for this honor.

 The graduates of the Masters Program in Genetic Counseling

 Graduating med student recite the Hippocratic Oath after receiving their hoods, to remind them about their obligations in the practice of medicnie.

 Our new Doctors of Physical Therapy at their pre-commencement hooding ceremony.

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