On Saturday morning, May 28, the Geisel School of Medicine’s 99 graduates joyously gathered with family and friends outdoors on Dartmouth’s Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center lawn to celebrate the close of their academic studies and the beginning of their careers as physicians.
Under a clear sunny sky (with thunderstorms at bay) Dean Duane Compton, PhD, congratulated the Class of 2022 and welcomed everyone to the momentous ceremony featuring guest speaker Andrea Hayes D ’87 MED ’91, FACS, FAAP, and student speakers Ramzi W. Ben-Yelles MED ’22 and Falen Demsas MED ’22. Geisel Alumni Council President John Houde MED ’92, welcomed the new physicians to an alumni family committed to their success.
Hayes, chair of surgery and the Schneider Endowed Professor at Howard University School of Medicine where she is also associate director of the Cancer Center, specializes in refractory and resistant tumors in children—specifically soft tissue sarcomas. She is the first Black female pediatric surgeon in the U.S. and is known both nationally and internationally for her work pioneering hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) and cytoreductive surgery in children.
Because the decisions a doctor makes for one patient can affect generations, she said, “My translation of the Hippocratic oath is, ‘To heal and to serve all with skill and integrity.’” A phrase Hayes repeated throughout her address.
She encouraged the graduates to get to know their patients, to understand their behavior, to leave first impressions behind because they can cloud judgement, and to dig deep within themselves to give the best care. “When confronted with something you don’t understand, do not be afraid to consult with colleagues,” she advised. And to acknowledge the power behind the words, “what if …”
Both Ben-Yelles and Demsas, in their individual remarks, recalled the professional and personal growth they and their classmates experienced during the past four years and acknowledged how their collective actions proved that medical students could facilitate change. When doubting themselves, to remember the quiet affirmations of their mentors, peers, and family. And to always treat patients with dignity and humility.
Sharing advice from his mother, Ben-Yelles said, “Nothing will matter, no moment will be cherished, or memory will be savored, if you’re just thinking about and worrying about what’s next.” Demsas also encouraged the new physicians to thank those who “made you who you are … and to continue being agents for progress.”
Dean Compton awarded Kathleen Miller MED ’22, The William Mellen Chamberlain Memorial Prize and Dean’s Medal—given each year to a member of the graduating class who, in the opinion of the faculty, has the best overall record of achievement during their four years of study at Geisel.
And selected by members of their class as someone who best exemplifies the personal and intangible qualities of the good physician—caring and empathy—Joseph Minichiello MED ’22 received The Good Physician Award.
Class Day Photo Gallery:
In thanking the graduates for the scope of their commitment to, and impact on, both the Upper Valley community and the medical school, Compton said, “Through your actions, you have embraced the Hippocratic Oath and given your heart and soul to your endeavors.” In conclusion, quoting Mother Theresa, he said, “Spread love everywhere you go.”
During the previous evening’s annual Student and Faculty Awards ceremony, hosted by Alison V. Holmes, MD, MPH, associate dean for student affairs, associate professor of pediatrics, and associate professor of The Dartmouth Institute, students, faculty, and residents were recognized for their achievements.
Among the awards conferred: Stephen M. Conn MED ’22 received The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award presented by The Arnold P. Gold Foundation to a graduating medical student who consistently demonstrates compassion and empathy in the delivery of healthcare; Evadine G. Marcolini, MD, associate professor of emergency medicine and associate professor of neurology was the faculty recipient. Falen Demsas MED ’22 received the Diversity Visionary Leadership, Rolf C. Syvertsen Fellow, and the Dean’s Leadership Awards. Matthew B. Stanton MED ’22 received the Kyle Janeczek Memorial Award. Kira M. Gressman MED ’22, Maggie Leech MED ’22, Joseph M. Minichiello MED ’22, William J. Smith MED ’22, and Isabelle T.Y. Yang MED ’22, were named Rolf C. Syverstsen Scholars.
You can download the programs for the Student and Faculty Awards and Class Day Ceremonies here.
If you missed the ceremony, you can watch the video here: