At the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth’s annual Class Day ceremony on June 2, faculty, staff, students, and families celebrated the accomplishments of 77 new graduates of the school’s MD program.
The customary celebration, held a week before Dartmouth College’s commencement, took place in Spaulding Auditorium at the Hopkins Center for the Arts. In addition to receiving the hoods denoting their degrees, the graduating students also received sage advice from Dartmouth faculty, alumni, their peers, and special guest speakers.
The Class Day address was delivered by George E. Thibault, MD, president of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation. He reflected on how the practice of medicine had changed since the days of his father, a physician in a small town in New York who had a big impact upon his community.
“Can we enhance and benefit from all the advances in modern medicine and still retain the heart of my father’s small-town practice of yesteryear?” asked Thibault. “The answer is resoundingly ‘Yes’ if we daily remind ourselves of our oath and every day renew our commitment to professionalism and to our social contract.”
Duane Compton, PhD, dean of the Geisel School of Medicine, reflected on the graduates’ time at the medical school, their many accomplishments, and the lessons learned in the classroom as well as from each other and in the community. He noted that faculty and staff at Geisel worked hard to provide an environment to nurture their intellectual and emotional growth and to give their “innate sense of compassion and altruism a way to express itself through medicine.”
“We have provided you with the agency to act on your core values to improve people’s lives,” said Compton. “Our desire is that you use this agency to spark of lifetime filled with curiosity and to go about your life as a citizen of curiosity. Acting with curiosity to learn from your patients, to exchange ideas with your colleagues, to improve the systems of healthcare, and to improve the human condition. I hear in your words, the kernels of humility and the desire to learn that give me great hope for the future that you will build for us all.”
Student speaker Michael Lauria spoke of the need to pursue truth in medicine and not to simply accept established beliefs or dogma without examination.
“This quest for truth is important for one additional reason, and that is its discovery relies on unwavering intellectual curiosity,” said Lauria. “Is this really the best way of doing things? Can we find an alternate solution? Can we find a more efficient, cheaper solution that would work just as well? Asking those questions is important, and I think this ethos can carry us through some of the tough times to come, provide us with a bearing through tumultuous waters ahead, allow us to crush residency, and really do amazing things in the future. So, stay curious, my friends.”
Among award winners in the class of 2018, Shawn Li, received The William Mellen Chamberlain Memorial Prize and Dean’s Medal, which is awarded to the student with the best overall record of academic achievement. Madeleine Haff received the Good Physician Award, which is selected by the graduating class as someone who best exemplifies the personal and intangible qualities of the good physician.
Vincent Pellegrini, Jr. MED ’79, the John A. Siegling Professor and Chair of the Dept. of Orthopaedics at the Medical University of South Carolina and President of the Geisel Alumni Council, congratulated the graduates and welcomed them as new alumni of the medical school.
This year’s 77 MD graduates also include four MD-PhD and eight MD-MBA combined graduates.
Geisel’s Class Day is held a week earlier than Dartmouth College’s Commencement in order to accommodate the earlier start dates of many of the residency programs the graduates will be entering as they continue their training at top teaching hospitals around the country.
Geisel’s other graduating students will receive their diplomas Sunday, June 10th in ceremonies held in conjunction with Dartmouth’s Commencement.
Class Day Photo Gallery*:
*All photos by Rob Strong
Class Day Video: