With degrees in hand, 189 jubilant students strode out of the Shrine Auditorium after the School of Medicine’s 112th commencement and waded into a cheering crowd of family and friends.
The emotional finale to years of hard work and study followed a ceremony in late May that encouraged graduates to revel in their accomplishments, but also to think hard about how they define success in all areas of their lives.
Parakrama Chandrasoma, USC professor of pathology, and Alexandra Levine, professor of medicine and chief of hematology, offered the new graduates heartfelt advice in their keynote speeches, urging them to set goals and strive to achieve them.
Chandrasoma cautioned that in many ways completing medical school will be the easy part for graduates because their roles as students were well defined and their achievements were assessed through grades and exams.
“From now on, your success will depend not only on increasing your knowledge and putting this knowledge into practice, but also on less definable factors, such as integrity, character, personality and confidence, and probably most importantly your ability to interact with other people-people such as your superiors, your patients, your peers,” he said.
He warned that many people focus on their careers to the exclusion of family and community and that true success must include success at home.
Lloyd Armstrong, Jr., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, conferred the degrees during the ceremony, which also featured remarks by Joseph P. Van Der Meulen, vice president of health affairs, and Stephen J. Ryan, dean of the School of Medicine. Christine May Calderon represented the Class of 1997 as student speaker during commencement.
The graduates included 11 Masters of Science, 154 Doctors of Medicine, 18 Doctors of Philosophy and six combined M.D./Ph.D. recipients.
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