AUC Celebrates More than 300 Graduates at 2021 Virtual Commencement Ceremony
New 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 22. The virtual ceremony celebrated the beginning of their medical careers at a time when healthcare continues to be of paramount importance.
Broadcast on social media, the ceremony recognized the accomplishments of 315 graduates and their dedication to the field of medicine, which has held strong through a historic hurricane, a temporary transatlantic relocation, and a global pandemic. Throughout the event, speakers offered words of inspiration and advice in the context of graduates’ unique journey to MD.
A central theme emerged from AUC Provost Dr. Heidi Chumley’s message to graduates: “You are ready.” Dr. Chumley discussed how the obstacles graduates have overcome during medical school have strengthened them as physicians—and that their communities are better served when physicians can empathize with their patients and fellow caregivers. “Use these tools and these experiences as you work with patients and colleagues,” said Dr. Chumley. “When you do that, you will find that you can be what your patients need and what your teams need at the most challenging times of their lives.”
Dr. Amesh Adalja, a 2002 graduate of AUC and Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, delivered the keynote address. As a leading infectious disease/critical care expert, Dr. Adalja has been featured prominently in the media for his work on pandemic preparedness and emerging infectious disease policies. He focused on four overarching principles for graduates to keep in mind: 1) A career in medicine is a long-range journey, 2) Medicine will continue to transform as our collective knowledge continues to grow, 3) Graduates will need to keep up with medicine and drive their own careers, and 4) Physicians should always keep their ambition to achieve.
“You have to be the driver of your own career. Medicine is going to change minute by minute with new discoveries, innovations, new approaches—dogmas are going to be shred—and to be an effective and successful physician, you have to relish this melee that you’re going to enter,” said Dr. Adalja. “Look for career paths that suit you best, and don’t give up dreams just because they’re not part of a well-trodden path.”
Special Awards and Recognition
Dr. Julie Taylor, Chief Academic Officer and Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Dr. Golden Jackson, Assistant Dean Emeritus for Community Engagement, recognized eight graduates for their commitment to university and community service and their academic accomplishments.
The Excellence in Community and University Service Award, which is given to graduates with exemplary records of service to both AUC and their surrounding communities, was presented to:
- Dr. Moe Ameri, Internal Medicine Resident at the University of Texas Medical Branch
- Dr. Manpreet Mahal, Family Medicine Resident at Henry Ford Hospital in Michigan
- Dr. Rohan Patel, Internal Medicine Resident at SUNY Downstate in New York; Incoming Radiation Oncology Resident at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio
- Dr. Shelby Nordmann, Family Medicine Resident at Idaho State University
The Outstanding Academic Achievement Award, which is granted to select graduates who maintained a GPA above 95.65 during medical school, went to:
- Dr. Alexandra Bradu, Internal Medicine Resident at East Carolina University in North Carolina
- Dr. Kyle Clay, Internal Medicine Resident at University Hospitals in Mississippi
- Dr. Rory Eschete II, Emergency Medicine Resident at University Hospitals in Mississippi
- Dr. Luis Suarez, Internal Medicine Resident at SUNY Upstate Medical University in New York
A Growing Alumni Network
In a reflection of the collaborative spirit and focus on community among the Class of 2021, this year’s student representative address was given jointly by five members of the graduating class: Drs. Moe Ameri, Chelsea Azevedo, Rico Barranon, Madhura Mahapatra, and Rohan Patel. “As doctors, we will not just be leaders, public servants in our communities, and healers, we will be agents of change,” said Dr. Barranon.
Friendships and connections made during graduates’ time in medical school were on display throughout the ceremony. After the remarks and conferral of degrees, congratulatory messages from faculty and staff offered heartfelt reflections on campus memories for graduates as they look ahead toward their careers as physicians.
The Class of 2021 joins a vibrant alumni network of 7,500+ physicians worldwide. Graduates will now head to 39 U.S. states and territories to begin their residency training in 17 different specialties. This year, 91 percent of first-time eligible graduates secured a residency position. Read more about Class of 2021 residency placements here.
To watch an archived livestream of the 2021 Commencement Ceremony, click here.