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Distinguished Graduates Honored at Annual Student Awards and Scholarships Breakfast

Thursday, May 14, 2009

 Class president Judy Kopinski was a speaker as well as an award recipient. Dr. Vincent Pellegrini, Jr. presented her with the Thomas E. Gillespie Award for Excellence in Orthopaedics.

Graduation festivities kicked off May 14, 2009 with the annual Student Scholarship and Awards Brunch at the M&T Bank Pavilion in the Hippodrome Theatre. The brunch honors students who have shown the most promise in each department discipline. It also gives students who have been supported by scholarships the chance to recognize and thank the donors who established those rewards.


"It is important that we set aside time during this very busy period to honor our very generous donors as well as our most accomplished students," said E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Vice President for Medical Affairs at the University of Maryland and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean, School of Medicine. "This special celebration gives us an opportunity to appropriately acknowledge our scholarship and award recipients and the gracious donors who have made it possible for the School of Medicine to graduate the great physicians and scientists of tomorrow."


Judy Kopinski, President of the Class on 2009, spoke on behalf of her classmates when she said "I want to express our heartfelt thanks to each and every one of the donors and let them know that all the things you do for us and for the university have not gone unnoticed," she assured them. "You have given generously and freely of your resources and time, and your dedication and commitment to the school and your faith and hope in its students is a wonderful example of altruism, exemplifying the best that human nature has to offer."


Also honored at the brunch were the students with the top three capstone projects. The capstone project is a new requirement for graduation. It is a part of the fourth-year Area Health and Education Center (AHEC) rotation, during which students work in rural and underserved areas. For the capstone, students wrote on topics inspired by patients they met during these rotations. Jason O'Grady won first place for his essay about prison medicine. Ari Elman took second place for his essay on HIV partner notification and the physician's duty to warn. Third place went to Kathleen Sterling for her essay on healthcare for women veterans in the VA system.


All in all, the Class of 2009 received more than $1 million in grants and scholarships from generous donors, announced Dr. Donna Parker, Associate Dean for Student Affairs. She, too, acknowledged the donors who made this funding possible. "We'd like to thank all of you for paving the way for the continued education of the world-renowned clinicians and scientists that this institution produces."

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 Dan Hess was one of only 10 students in the country to receive the American College of Emergency Physicians National Outstanding Medical Student Award. It was presented by Emergency Med chair Dr. Brian Browne.

 Zachary Kon won the prestigious Dean's Award for Excellence in Research, presented by Jordan Warnick, PhD, to the student who has performed the most notable research during the standard MD program.

 Dr. Mary Dorcas Clark had the chance to meet the recipient of the scholarship she funded, Elizabeth Gilliam-Hertz.

 Mary Alam was the recipient of a scholarship funded in part by David (right) and Franklin Paulson.

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