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Bidding Farewell and Good Luck to the Class of 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

 Judy Kopinski and Zachary Kon will both be staying in Maryland for their residencies.

The sun outside could not outshine the Class of 2009 as they celebrated their graduation in a convocation ceremony at the Baltimore Convention Center Hilton on May 15th. Hundreds of friends and family were on hand to cheer on the graduates as they received their doctoral hoods and officially became practicing physicians. "Thank you to all of you who helped us on this journey," said class president Judy Kopinski. "I would especially like to recognize our faculty, outstanding physicians, scientists and mentors. We have learned great things from you."


Learning must be a life-long process for the doctors of today advised keynote speaker Anthony Fauci, MD, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "You will be witness to a constant and at times seemingly overwhelming evolution of technological advances," he warned the graduates. "You will feel, as I do, both exhilarated and intimidated. You will be learning the art of medicine while trying to keep up with the science of medicine, which will be advancing at breathtaking speed. The evolution of medicine will be beyond your control, but you must be a part of it if you are to evolve as well."


Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, is confident this class is ready for the challenges of  tomorrow. "Today we send you on your way," he said, "to a life's work of serving humanity and carrying on the healing tradition in new ways, in new environments, with new tools, exploring scientific puzzles with zeal and determination, while at the same time contributing to discoveries and cures."


Sampson Kyere is ready for those challenges now that he has earned his MD/PhD. "It's been a long eight years, and this is a very nice milestone to reach," he said of the graduation ceremony, where he was presented with the Student National Medical Association Service Award. This award is given to a graduating senior who has shown leadership in the Association (which has chapters in every U.S. medical school) and made outstanding contributions to the minority community. Kyere will stay at the University of Maryland for residencies in Internal Medicine and Diagnostic Radiology.


Also receiving an award at the ceremony was Zachary Kon, who was presented with the Faculty Gold Medal for Outstanding Qualifications for the Practice of Medicine. The medal is given to a graduate with outstanding scholarly accomplishments and those qualities of humanity and dedication most desirable in a physician. "It's a great feeling," he said of the day's activities. "But it's kind of sad, too. We're going to miss all our classmates who are leaving to go elsewhere. At the same time, we're very proud of them."


Pre-commencement celebrations were also held 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 and the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science, where Dean Reece gave the keynote speech to the 62 graduates of the department's PhD, DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy), DScPT (Doctor of Science in Physical Therapy) and TDPT (Transitional Doctor of Physical Therapy) programs.


No matter what aspect of medicine they will practice, all of the graduates would be wise to follow the advice Dr. Fauci gave during his speech. "The secret of the care of the patient is in caring for the patient," he said. "You will leave here today as professionals in a most noble field. You have been privileged, and with this privilege comes responsibility. May you carry this responsibility with pride."

 Faculty from Family Medicine turned out in the traditional academic robes.

 Sampson Kyere (right) and Cassidy Claassen both now have dual degrees (PhD and MPH, respectively).

 Leonie Prao (right) and Tobi Ogunlana will both be staying at the University of Maryland, for residencies in Family Medicine and Pediatrics.

 Dean Reece and Dr. Donna Parker congratulate Dr. Christopher Plowe on being chosen by students as the ceremony's mace bearer.

 Alex MacArthur is the first of the three MacArthur brothers currently studying medicine at Maryland to graduate. His mom, Dorothy Hsiao, is also an alum.

 Students waited anxiously to receive their doctoral hoods from their professors so they could finally put M.D. after their names.

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