Celebrating grit, gratitude and milestones
The OHSU community celebrated convocation on Monday, June 3, with more than 1,200 new graduates.
After a university-wide convocation ceremony, the School of Medicine held hooding and completion ceremonies for recipients of degrees in the Graduate Studies program and the M.D. program.
Photography by Aaron Bieleck and Jordan Sleeth.
The Graduate Studies Hooding and Completion Ceremony celebrated the accomplishments of students in a wide variety of graduate programs from basic research to clinical practice.
Speakers added to the celebratory atmosphere with words of encouragement and congratulations, including Norah Verbout, Ph.D. '08, representing the School of Medicine Alumni Association; Faculty Speaker Monica Hinds, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical engineering, OHSU School of Medicine, and Graduate Student Speaker Brittany Alperin, Ph.D., whose remarks touched on themes of resilience and gratitude.
George Mejicano, M.D., senior associate dean for education, OHSU School of Medicine, delivered the Dean's Message.
“You are smart and talented,” he said. “You hold great promise. But the variable that you most control is effort. Keep at it, don’t quit on a bad day, and persist! Because grit is what will make the greatest difference in your life – and by extension – the lives of those you love and in the communities you serve.”
A milestone for OHSU’s Behavioral Neuroscience Graduate Program came when Andre “Dre” Walcott was hooded, officially becoming Dr. Andre Walcott – and the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. from the program.
“This Ph.D. isn’t just for me, but for my entire community!!!” he wrote on Twitter. “BLACKandSTEM #phDONE #first gen.”
Dr. Walcott’s dissertation explored the relationship between alcohol consumption and sociality in the prairie vole rodent model. He credits the support he received from fellow students along with his mentor Andrey Ryabinin, Ph.D., professor of behavioral neuroscience, OHSU School of Medicine, for being a strong advocate of diversity and inclusion and for mentoring students from all types of backgrounds.
“I’m glad I was able to be a trailblazer, but at the same time, it’s sad that it took this long,” reflected Dr. Walcott, who, following graduation, will become a scientific program manager scholar at OHSU Knight Cancer Institute’s Cancer Early Detection Advanced Research center (CEDAR). Dr. Walcott says he hopes his experience will encourage greater diversity and inclusion at OHSU.
Another special moment was marked when Ph.D. candidate Daelyn Richards was hooded by her mother, a clinical molecular geneticist at OHSU who inspired her daughter’s interest in gene therapy research, and faculty mentor Cary Harding, M.D., professor of molecular and medical genetics, OHSU School of Medicine. Dr. Daelyn Richards will begin medical school this fall at Washington State University, where she says she plans to become a physician-scientist caring for patients with rare disorders.
The ceremony ended with dignitaries, newly minted graduates and families processing out of the hall to the "Throne room and final credits" theme music from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
The M.D. Hooding Ceremony celebrated 127 new doctors, including 6 joint M.D./M.P.H. degrees.
Amy Garcia, M.D., M.S., associate professor of pediatrics and assistant dean for student affairs, delivered the Edward J. Keenan address. She greeted attendees and viewers in 9 languages, and encouraged graduates throughout her remarks to practice inclusiveness in all aspects of their careers. "Stay true to the inner you," she continued, while showing a slide that changed from "Believe Yourself" to "(Be)lieve (You)rself."
Nattaly Greene, M.D., was selected by the class as the student speaker. She thanked families and supporters, in English and Spanish, adding "this triumph is for you and because of you." Her message for her peers was to "use privilege for the service of others."
Dean Sharon Anderson, M.D., recognized the class of 2019 for their passion and service to others. She emphasized the need for graduates to continue engaging in public service and debate – "your voices carry," she said to a round of applause.
Tracy Bumsted, M.D., M.S., FAAP, associate dean for undergraduate medical education, delivered the closing remarks of the ceremony. "You are all extraordinarily gifted and you have the tools to overcome whatever obstacles come your way. Follow your dreams and fully embrace your future! I am confident that you have the fortitude, energy, passion, skill, know-how and dedication to see things through and succeed in whatever you want to do in life."
By the numbers: 480 degrees awarded in the School of Medicine
Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) – 121
Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health (M.D./M.P.H.) – 6
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) – 28
- Behavioral Neuroscience – 7
- Biochemistry & Molecular Biology – 1
- Biomedical Engineering – 5
- Cell & Developmental Biology – 2
- Computer Science & Engineering – 2
- Molecular & Medical Genetics – 2
- Neuroscience – 6
- Physiology & Pharmacology – 3
Master’s degrees – 194
- Master of Science in Bioinformatics & Computational Biomedicine – 1
- Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering – 3
- Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics – 5
- Master of Science in Computer Science & Engineering – 4
- Master of Science in Food Systems & Society – 7
- Master of Science in Health & Clinical Informatics – 12
- Master of Science in Healthcare Management – 35
- Master of Science in Human Nutrition – 10
- Master of Science in Medical Physics – 6
- Master of Biomedical Informatics – 15
- Master of Business Administration – 39
- Master of Clinical Research – 16
- Master of Physician Assistant Studies – 41
Graduate certificates – 48
- Biomedical Informatics – 13
- Dietetic Internship – 16
- Healthcare Management – 5
- Human Investigations Program – 14
Bachelor’s degrees – 53
- Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science – 45
- Bachelor of Science in Radiation Therapy – 8
Associate of Applied Science in Paramedic – 30