Home » News

Geisel School of Medicine Celebrates MD Class of 2024

MD Class of 2024
MD Class of 2024. Photo by Rob Strong

On Saturday morning, May 11, members of the Geisel community, families, and friends gathered at the Lebanon Opera House to celebrate 91 graduating Doctor of Medicine students, marking the end of their academic studies and the beginning of their professional journeys as physicians and as alumni of the medical school.

Geisel Dean Duane Compton, PhD, congratulated the Class of 2024 and welcomed all attendees to the milestone event, which featured guest speaker John Paul Sánchez, MD, MPH, student speaker Kristina Ali MED ’24, and Geisel Alumni Council President Kristin Casale D ’89 MED ’94, who welcomed the new physicians into their alumni family.

In his keynote address, Sánchez, who serves as the Dean of Universidad Central Del Caribe School of Medicine in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, reflected on the many challenges he faced pursuing a career in medicine as someone who identified as Hispanic (Puerto Rican) and gay. He is now a nationally respected academic physician and leader with distinguished contributions in education; research; clinical care; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and community engagement.

“Recall that for over a century at many U.S. medical schools, if you checked a box or even were perceived as Hispanic, Black, Asian, Native American, LGBT, Muslim, woman, or Jewish you were unjustly disqualified from being considered for medical school—while the legal system stood blind and mute,” said Sánchez.

“How times have slowly changed through diversity of thought and practice,” he continued, “whereby now we celebrate a diverse class at Geisel that includes 55 percent women, 9 percent LGBT, 22 percent racial and ethnic minorities, and 11 percent international—what a beautiful accomplishment.”

Sánchez then reminded the Class of 2024, “As physicians, you are not only diagnosticians but your status in society affords you great privilege, positioning, and social responsibility as experts, educators, leaders, and advocates. I want you to leave today asking yourselves, if you were to continue to dream of new possibilities, what would they be?”

In her address, student speaker Kristina Ali MED ’24 recalled the special set of obstacles that confronted her class, like the COVID-19 pandemic, testing its resiliency. “But through everything, we remained committed to building a community and supporting one another.”

“For me, and I know I’m not alone in this, coming to Geisel and being far from my family and living near more trees than I’ve ever lived near before—it was my classmates that made this a home,” said Ali. “Thank you to my fellow fifth year seniors for being on this whole ride together with me, and to the entire Class of 2024, thank you for being welcoming to us and for your commitment to each other. I love being part of this class and I’m so excited to see what we all do next.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Photos by Rob Strong

Dean Compton presented both Maggie Sherin MED ’24 and Chris Thompson MED ’24 with 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.

In his closing remarks, Compton referenced a line of dialogue from the movie, Oppenheimer, in which Niels Bohr says to Oppenheimer, ‘The important thing isn’t, can you read music, it’s, can you hear it?’”

“Bohr was exploring Oppenheimer’s insight into the underlying mathematical calculations he was doing and was probing whether Oppenheimer understood the implications for his work and how it transcended the math,” Compton explained to the audience.

“It strikes me that what we’ve done, through our curriculum and the co-curricular activities that we’ve provided, is simply to challenge your innate characteristics into the practice of medicine. And now, we get to go into a future with you where we get to hear the music that you create, with your patients and with your communities.”

During the previous day’s annual student and faculty awards ceremony, Sonia Chimienti, MD, FIDSA, dean of Educational Affairs, recognized students, faculty, and residents for their achievements.

Emma Fitzsimmons MED ’24 received the John and Sophia Zaslow Prize, which is awarded to the graduating student that best exemplifies the qualities of spirit, mind, and heart shown by Dr. Zaslow, a “compassionate healer, an astute diagnostician, and a practical therapist of body and soul.”

Among the other awards given: Amal Cheema MED ’24 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; Wenzel Kovarik, MD, was the faculty recipient. Briggs Carhart-Veres MED ’24 received the Dean’s Leadership Award. Brendan Barth MED ’24 received the Kyle Janeczek Memorial Award. Amal Cheema MED 24 received the Rolf C. Syvertsen Fellow Award, and Sean Halloran MED ‘24, Malachi Joiner MED 24, Ifeoma Kamalu MED ‘24, Zachary Panton, MED ’24, and Maggie Sherin MED ‘24 were named Rolf C. Syvertsen Scholars. The full list of awardees is available here.

If you'd like to view the programs for the Awards Ceremony or Class Day, you can click click below.

Awards Ceremony Program

Class Day Program

Class Day Ceremony Video from May 11, 2024

Awards Ceremony Video from May 10, 2024