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Commencement 2013

Einstein Celebrates the Class of 2013

Amid the pomp and circumstance that filled Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall on May 29, 2013, Einstein held its 55th commencement ceremony, where 197 medical degrees and 62 doctorates of philosophy degrees were conferred to exuberant medical and graduate students.  Twenty-one of the graduates received both M.D. and Ph.D. degrees.

Dr. Philip Ozuah delivers the keynote address
Dr. Philip Ozuah delivers the keynote address
Welcoming the Class of 2013 and their guests to the evening's festivities, Dr. Allen M. Spiegel, the Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean at Einstein, congratulated the graduates and encouraged them to embrace all of the successes and challenges that lay before them. "We celebrate the Class of 2013 tonight for reaching this important milestone in their lives," he said. "And we salute their families and friends, who have helped them to reach this point."

Richard M. Joel, president of Yeshiva University, told the graduates:  "Your Einstein education amounts to more than the assemblage of facts and know-how. It has instilled in you a commitment to service and to fighting suffering… You will heal not only bodies, but spirits, not just individuals, but families and their communities. We can't move to another world, but we can move this one, this world that is now entrusted to you."

A Noble Profession

Dr. Philip O. Ozuah, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Einstein’s University Hospital and academic center, Montefiore Medical Center, delivered the evening’s keynote address. He emboldened students to make wise choices as they began their careers in medicine and science. A former Einstein pediatric resident and current member of the Einstein faculty, Dr. Ozuah recalled his own commencement from the University of Ibadan, in Nigeria, 28 years ago, and what led him to choose a career at Einstein and Montefiore.

"Einstein chooses to put its science at the heart of medicine," said Dr. Ozuah. "Montefiore chooses to define medicine as an instrument for social justice."

Weaving Greek mythology and the challenges of modern-day medicine, Dr. Ozuah lauded medicine's prestigious history, noting to graduates that although times have changed dramatically since the creation of the Hippocratic Oath, the responsibilities of physicians and scientists have not changed. "We have a responsibility to uphold that noble tradition," he said. "We are direct descendents of the ancient physicians and priests who practiced at the temple of Apollo."

Honoring Alumni and Faculty

Dr. Monique “Nikki” Katz represented the Class of 1963, offering their wishes for the graduates
Dr. Monique “Nikki” Katz represented the Class of 1963, offering their wishes for the graduates
Tradition was honored in other ways.  Alumni from Einstein's Class of 1963 celebrated their 50th reunion anniversary by joining esteemed faculty and new graduates in the procession. These alumni represented Einstein's fifth graduating class since the medical school held its first commencement in 1959. Representing the Class of 1963, Dr. Monique "Nikki" Katz, shared her experiences of being thrilled to have finished medical school, yet terrified of starting residency training. She then offered her reunion class’ wish for the graduates: "May you grow in knowledge, in compassion for your patients and their families, in the wisdom to know what you don't know, in integrity to acknowledge this, and may you experience those moments of sheer joy that the practice of medicine has given us throughout these past 50 years."

In addition to the presentation of degrees, distinguished alumni and faculty were bestowed awards in recognition of their service and achievement. These included:

  • Dominick P. Purpura Distinguished Alumnus Award — Gerald Dorros, M.D. (Class of 1968)
  • Distinguished Ph.D. Alumnus/a Award — Nita J. Maihle, Ph.D. (Class of 1983)
  • Distinguished Alumnus/Clinical Practitioner Award — Steven Mandel, M.D. (Class of 1975)
  • Alumni Association Lifetime Achievement Award — Samuel S. Kessel, M.D. (Class of 1974)
  • Alumni Association Lifetime Service Award — Farshad J. Nosratian, M.D. (Class of 1983)
  • Honorary Alumnus Award; Saul R. Korey Award in Translational Science & MedicineRobert Burk, M.D.
  • Samuel M. Rosen Award for Outstanding Teaching (in basic science teaching) — Eric J. Epstein, M.D.
  • Samuel M. Rosen Award for Outstanding Teaching (in clinical teaching) — Setul Pardanani, M.D. (Class of 1999)
  • Harry Eagle Award for Outstanding Basic Science TeachingAmanda C. Raff, M.D. (Class of 1998)
  • Harry H. Gordon Award for Outstanding Clinical TeachingRachel J. Katz, M.D. (Class of 1995)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in TeachingHoward M. Steinman, Ph.D.
  • LaDonne H. Schulman Award for Excellence in TeachingAna Maria Cuervo, M.D., Ph.D.

Throughout the ceremony, graduates were urged to maintain a sense of humility and wonder about the practice of medicine and the pursuit of scientific discovery as they move forward in their professions. And as they filtered out of the auditorium to cries and cheers, the Class of 2013 was on their way to their new beginnings.

Photo Gallery

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Avery Fisher Hall Dr. Allen M. Spiegel with Dr. Ruth L. Gottesman, chair of Einstein’s Board of Overseers Dr. Edward R. Burns, YU President Richard M. Joel, commencement speaker Dr. Philip O. Ozuah, Montefiore president and CEO Dr. Steven M. Safyer and Dr. Allen M. Spiegel Faculty and alumna awardees (from left): Drs. Amanda Raff, Rita Maihle, Robert Burk, Ana Maria Cuervo, Setul Pardanani, Rachel Katz, Howard Steinman and Eric Epstein Happy graduates, waiting to march More happy graduates The calm before the march

Faculty hooding up for the big event Leading the Ph.D.s The band provides the pomp Dr. Burns opens the graduation ceremony Dr. Nita Maihle (Ph.D. Class of 1983) receives the Distinguished Ph.D. Alumnus/a Award Dr. Steven Mandel (M.D. Class of 1975) receives the Distinguished Alumnus/Clinical Practitioner Award Dr. Samuel Kessel (M.D. Class of 1974) receives the Alumni Association Lifetime Acheivement Award

Dr. Farshad Nosratian (M.D. Class of ’83) receives the Alumni Association Lifetime Service Award Dr. Robert Burk receives the Honorary Alumnus Award and the Saul R. Korey Award in Translational Science & Medicine Dr. Eric Epstein receives the Samuel M. Rosen Award for Outstanding Teaching in basic science teaching (selected by the students) Dr. Setul Pardanani receives the Samuel M. Rosen Award for Outstanding Teaching in clinical teaching (selected by the students) Dr. Amanda Raff receives the Harry Eagle Award for Outstanding Basic Science Teaching Dr. Rachel Katz receives the Harry H. Gordon Award for Outstanding Clinical Teaching Dr. Howard Steinman receives the Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Teaching

Dr. Ana Maria Cuervo receives the LaDonne H. Schulman Award for Excellence in Teaching Dr. Pablo Castillo, professor of neuroscience and Harold and Muriel Block Chair in Neuroscience shares a father-daughter moment with the  newly minted Dr. Mia Pia Castillo Graduate with children in tow All in the family Celebrating their doctoral degrees Graduates turning their tassels Heading out to celebrate The celebration

Posted on: Tuesday, June 11, 2013