Fifty University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix medical students officially were conferred with their medical degrees at ceremonies on May 8 in the third graduation for the downtown Phoenix medical school.
Led by a bagpipe and drum corps, commencement exercises began with a procession from the college on the Phoenix Biomedical Campus to the Phoenix Convention Center, where the ceremony took place. The UA College of Medicine-Phoenix has graduated 114 physicians in three years. The school opened in 2007 in what was the largest city in the nation without an allopathic (MD-granting) medical school.
"Your University of Arizona education is replete with experiences that were once visible at the corner of your eye," said President Ann Weaver Hart. "This is just the beginning."
She then quoted author and professor, Mary Catherine Bateson, "'We are called to join to in a dance whose steps we must learn along the way.' Ladies and gentlemen of the Class of 2013, the dance floor is open, and they are playing your song."
A special hooding ceremony and the recitation of the oath were part of the ceremony, which included an address from Dr. Raymond Woosley, the founder of the Critical Path Institute, and former vice president of the UA Health Sciences Center.
"Throughout your career continue to choose your heroes carefully for you will become them," said Woosley, who also was the dean of the UA College of Medicine in Tucson from 2001-05. "You are here today because in your past you have selected the right heroes, outstanding teachers, mentors, role models who encouraged you choose a career in medicine so you might heal the sick and nurture the infirm."
Graduating senior Allon Kahn gave the student address.
"Savor this moment, remember whenever you feel complacency and apathy sneaking in, remember how excited you were to become a doctor," said Kahn, who will be doing a residency in internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. "Live to better the lives of others and remember that this is your calling. And though I know you will all reach high and continue to achieve greatness, never forget where you came from."
UA College of Medicine-Phoenix Dean Dr. Stuart D. Flynn began Wednesday's ceremony with a short description of the largest class to complete four years of study on the downtown Phoenix campus.
"You excelled in the classroom and on your board exams," Flynn said. "Gave back to your community in profoundly altruistic ways and importantly received most impressive accolades from your mentors in how you interacted with patients, your peers and those all around you."
The ceremony capped a day of celebration that included a senior luncheon.
Dr. Michael Karbasi earlier acknowledged the solemnity of the occasion.
"With the title of doctor comes a certain amount of respect and power," said Karbasi, who will be an emergency medicine resident at Maricopa Medical Center. "I have to adjust and be able to use that to my advantage, for myself and for the patients."
The UA College of Medicine-Phoenix opened in 2007 as a way for the state to address the critical shortage of physicians in Arizona. Nearly half of this year's graduates from the Phoenix campus are staying in Arizona for their residencies and a similar number are pursuing primary care specialties.