This summer, St. George’s University School of Medicine’s Class of 2019 will go their separate ways, joining residency programs throughout the United States, Canada, and the world. But before doing so, the newest class of physicians reconvened once more in New York City for SGU’s annual commencement ceremonies at Lincoln Center.
The atmosphere inside David Geffen Hall was festive as family and friends gathered to watch this year’s graduates join an alumni network of more than 17,000 physicians who have gone on to practice in all 50 United States and in over 50 countries worldwide.
In addressing the crowd, Dr. Charles Modica, chancellor of St. George’s University, marveled at the aptitude and commitment of this year’s graduates, also noting that approximately 100 members of the 2019 class had some kind of familial tie to an SGU alumnus. Among them was Tracey O’Brien, MD ’19, daughter of SGU charter class grad John O’Brien, MD ’81.
“Our charter class graduates faced the same trials and tribulations that you have had in studying medicine,” Dr. Modica said. “They didn’t have quite the same facilities that you had, but they had the same attitude, the same thirst of knowledge, and the same quest to succeed.”
On that quest was Henry McGee, MD ’19, who was excited to rejoin his colleagues at Lincoln Center just weeks prior to beginning a pediatrics residency at Case Western Reserve University’s MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, OH. It was his top-choice program.
“I’m from northeastern Ohio, and it’s the community that I wanted to serve,” he said. “As a doctor, it’s all about the people that you’re taking care of, and for me, it was Ohio. I’m glad that I’m able to do what I always wanted to do.”
For his success, Dr. McGee credits the strong bond he made with fellow aspiring physicians, as well as the support of his family.
“Today is really exciting, to be honest,” he said. “This day is for us, but it’s also for my parents and all the people who helped us get to where we are. I can’t believe the person that I’ve become compared to where I was when I started medical school.”
Randolph DiLorenzo, MD ’19, followed in the footsteps of his father, Randolph, who graduated from SGU in 1988. He has gone on to become the medical director at Syosset Hospital on Long Island.
The newest DiLorenzo alum will begin his internal medicine residency at Staten Island University Hospital in New York. SIUH is part of Northwell Health, for which he had previously served as an emergency medical technician (EMT) and done bariatric surgery research.
“Every day I tried to set out to accomplish a goal, and all of those goals have added up to this one big goal—graduating from medical school,” he said. “Now that I’m here, there’s more to accomplish.”
St. George’s University also honored four special guests at the weekend’s festivities. Mark Lanzieri, MD ’85, a cardiologist at Central Maine Heart Associates, was presented with an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters for providing visiting cardiological services at no charge to hundreds of Grenadian citizens through SGU’s Physician Humanitarian Network for 20 years. Jose Sanchez, president and chief executive officer at Chicago’s Norwegian American Hospital, was honored for his extensive contributions to improving healthcare in Chicago as well as New York, where as a senior executive with NYC Health + Hospitals, he helped establish its network of hospitals as a hub for St. George’s University clinical students.
SGU also presented distinguished service awards to Marty Lyons, former New York Jets defensive lineman and founder of the Marty Lyons Foundation, as well as Max Rose from New York’s 11th Congressional District. Congressman Rose has also received a Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Combat Infantryman’s Badge for his service in the United States Army.
“Never in the history of this country have we asked more of doctors, and never have we needed primary care doctors more,” Congressman Rose said. “You’re going to be asked to do something over the course of your profession that doctors have never been asked to do. You will be asked to look beyond the four corners of your own office to analyze and treat every part of a human being. Elected officials, bureaucrats, and everyone in between are going to ask you of that. So I say to you today, as we peer as well, that I look forward to working with you. I look forward to being in the trenches with you. We have a lot of work to do.”