What does commencement mean to you? Is it a celebration? A sigh of relief? A confirmation that those countless hours of studying finally paid off? For many NEOMED graduates, Saturday, May 19, was a combination of all three.
Crowds poured in to watch and cheer on their loved ones who climbed the stage as students and exited as alumni. This year, 221 students from the Colleges of Medicine, Pharmacy and Graduate Studies moved their tassels from right to left at E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall in Akron.
A time to celebrate? Absolutely.
“A lot of the time in med school you’re so zoned in on the drill, the grind, the work and being at the bottom of the totem pole, that you don’t realize how far you’ve come and how much you can help people as a med student, so I think today is a really good marker of how far we’ve actually come,” says Hady Khalifa, M.D. (‘18).
As is often the case, NEOMED’s commencement was celebrated on the same day ― the third Saturday in May ― as Armed Forces Day. Eight graduates, who plan to use their medical education immediately in the military, took part in a short military ceremony presented by Army Capt. David Hilden, Medical Service Corps Officer-in-Charge, Cleveland-Akron Army Medical Recruiting.
A piece of advice, or two …
“It is important to remember the suffering of those who are ill…Patients are your most important teachers. I believe each and every working day, you should give your patients your gratitude …This feeling of compassion will endure the rest of time,” says Steven Wartman, M.D., Ph.D., president of the Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC) and this year’s commencement speaker.
Advice was offered by many, but remained centered on one topic – humanities in health care.
“What do we need most? Trust. Look someone in the eye and let them know they’re first…Get to know your patients and treat them with empathy,” says Robert Klonk, chair of the NEOMED Board of Trustees.
“We congratulate our Class of 2018 – You have advanced to become Doctors of Medicine and Doctors of Pharmacy, and masters of Health-System Pharmacy Administration, Pharmaceutical Medicine and Public Health,” President Gershen shared. “We all shine on today, because of you. And the patient experience will improve tomorrow, because of you.”