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 addressWelcoming 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."
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."
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:
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.
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Posted on: Tuesday, June 11, 2013