On Saturday, June 9, 2012, the Doctor of Medicine degree was conferred on more than 940 graduates during the St. George’s University School of Medicine two Commencement Exercises at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center in New York City, NY. The Class of 2012 represented 46 countries, including the United States, Grenada, the United Kingdom, Canada, Botswana, Trinidad and Tobago, India and Colombia.
In his address to the graduates, Chancellor Charles R. Modica, JD stated “Our charter class established some very important values which are as relevant today. They took a chance, faced many challenges and succeeded. Your class was the first to exceed the average of US scores for the United States Licensing Examination Step I. You have studied hard and persevered for your success. You are joined today with your classmates from all over the world to achieve success and I am so proud of you.”
Her Excellency Dr. Dessima Williams, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Permanent Representative of Grenada to the United Nations, also addressed the proud School of Medicine Class of 2012, which included 11 Grenadian graduates. She exhorted the graduates to go out into the world and make a difference. She asked them to use their training and education “to work to uplift the living conditions of those who live in poverty, to aid the disenfranchised in need of health” She cheered the graduates and the University stating that “Whenever I meet an SGU graduate, I say ‘There goes a doctor that was trained at SGU; there goes a healer of the world.” She extended her congratulations to the graduates and also congratulated them on behalf of the government and people of Grenada.
As part of the ceremony, distinguished guest Her Excellency Tebelelo Mazile Seretse, Ambassador of the Republic of Botswana to the United States, was presented with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in recognition of her being a visionary leader for her country in her drive to further the educational possibilities for the youth of Botswana and to establish Botswana as a hub for international education. Margaret Lambert, SGU’s Dean of Enrolment Planning, described Ambassador Seretse as “one of those rare people whose effect on those around her is immediate and profound” and stated “The people of Botswana have an indefatigable champion working hard for them.” After receiving her honorary degree, Ambassador Seretse stated: “I am most humbled by this honor which I know so many people deserve … and I now regard myself today as part of the class of 2012.” Addressing the graduates, she said: “Please heal the world. We need all of you to participate to help your individual countries but remember you are needed all over.” There are almost 100 Batswana students enrolled at St. George’s University.
As part of the ceremony, Chancellor Modica also conferred SGU’s prestigious Medal of Merit on Professor Pam Briggs, Dean of the School of Life Sciences at Northumbria University in recognition of her contribution and tireless efforts towards the unique and successful collaboration between SGU and NU.
Two Student Speakers, Edwin Raffi and Danielle Krol, addressed their class at the ceremony. Edwin Raffi noted: “We are the product of an institution with a very large network that has accomplished much over the past 35 years … We saw and helped our institution grow. Let it not end today, become an active part of the alumni and take your role seriously. If you think something needs fixing, become a part of the solution.” Danielle Krol urged the graduates to remember their dream: “Our paths came together at SGU. We came together on different roads and it has brought us here today. Don’t ever forget the road you took to earn this degree. In the years ahead, you will impact the lives of your patients.” Among the proud family members present to witness the ceremony was Charter Class member Anthony Coppola whose daughter was among the graduates.
The School of Medicine Commencement Ceremony concluded after the Academic Oath was administered by the Dean of the School of Medicine, Dean Stephen Weitzman, MD. He explained the import of the Oath’s pledges, ensuring that the graduates knew that they were pledging to keep up with their knowledge base, to be the best physicians possible, to not maliciously cause harm, to be discreet, and to celebrate the practice of the art of medicine. Hats and cheers and smiles ensured. A reception followed where the jubilant new graduates celebrated with their families, friends, peers, faculty and administration. St. George’s University’s newest doctors will join the over 10,000 medical graduates who have been licensed in all 50 states and have practiced in more than 45 countries around the world.