AUC Celebrates Graduates at 2022 Commencement Ceremony
Hundreds of graduates donned their regalia, recited the Physician’s Oath, and moved their tassels from right to left during AUC’s Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 21, 2022. The ceremony celebrated the beginning of their medical careers at a time when healthcare continues to be of paramount importance.
Hosted at the University of Miami Watsco Center in Miami, Florida and broadcast on social media, the ceremony honored the accomplishments of the graduating class and their dedication to the field of medicine. As the first in-person ceremony in three years, the event also recognized previous graduates who celebrated virtually in 2020 and 2021 and were able to come together this year with family and friends.
Throughout the event, speakers offered words of inspiration and advice as the graduates looked ahead to the next stage in their journey. Dr. Natalie Humphrey, assistant dean of community engagement, welcomed graduates and guests and presided over the event.
Dr. Pedro Delgado, dean of AUC, emphasized the characteristics and experiences that will serve graduates well in their careers as physicians. "We’re proud of you … for being grateful, empathetic, compassionate and sensitive physicians,” said Dr. Delgado. “You don't just treat a disease—you treat a person."
Keynoting AUC’s ceremony was AUC Class of 2006 alumnus Steven Jackson, MD, program director and spinal cord injury specialist at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minn., and assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Minnesota Medical School. His research focuses on disparities and advancing health equity.
Dr. Jackson encouraged graduates to go above and beyond in their careers—to exceed expectations and go the extra mile whenever possible. “Don’t be ordinary, be epic,” he said. He outlined four key aspects for graduates to focus on: Excellence, Persistence, Integrity, and Compassion.
SPECIAL AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
Dr. Kim Kirkland, associate dean for student affairs; Dr. Julie Taylor, senior associate dean for international medical education; and Dr. Natalie Humphrey, assistant dean for community engagement, recognized 10 graduates for their commitment to university and community service and their academic accomplishments.
New for this year, the Student Government Commitment and Leadership Award was created to recognize the exceptional leadership of graduates who have served as SGA Council Presidents. Recipients included:
- Nicole DiTommaso, general surgery resident at St. Mary’s Hospital in Connecticut
- Russell Donevant, family medicine resident at CHRISTUS Health in Texas
- Christina Perez-Arche, pediatric resident at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Florida
The Outstanding Academic Achievement Award, which is granted to select graduates who maintained a GPA above 94 during their studies at AUC, went to:
- Dr. Tiffany Tsao, internal medicine resident at Creighton University in Arizona
- Dr. Matthew White, preliminary surgery resident at the Mayo School of Graduate Medicine in Minnesota
- Dr. Morgan Leigh Sly, interventional radiology resident at the Henry Ford Macomb Hospital
The Excellence in Community and University Service Award, which recognizes graduates with exemplary records of community engagement and stories of personal and professional development emanating from community, was given to:
- Dr. Hayden Pollard, pediatric resident at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
- Dr. Ashlyn Brown, physical medicine and rehabilitation resident at Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Medical Center
- Dr. Pasha Shanasan, general surgery resident at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in New Jersey
- Dr. Hannah Chan, family medicine resident at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in California
A GROWING ALUMNI NETWORK
This year’s class representative address was given by prior student government leader Dr. Christina Arche-Perez, a Miami native. Dr. Arche-Perez, who is the first doctor in her family, will soon begin her residency training in pediatrics at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, her top choice program.
“When you signed up to be a medical student, you signed up for a never-ending learning journey,” said Dr. Perez-Arche. “Most of all, you signed up for the moments of kindness you must show when caring for someone's loved one, for the impact you stand to make, and the insight you stand to gain in the dedicated service of others.”
The Class of 2022 joins a vibrant alumni network of 7,500+ physicians worldwide. Graduates will now head to 33 U.S. states and territories to begin their residency training in 20 different specialties. This year, 96 percent of first-time eligible graduates secured a residency position. Read more about Class of 2022 residency placements here.
To watch an archived livestream of the 2022 Commencement Ceremony, click here.