Eighty-one medical students at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix celebrated Monday, as they moved on to the next step of their journey into the world of medicine.
A bagpipe and drum corps led the seventh graduating class of the College of Medicine – Phoenix from the downtown Phoenix campus to Phoenix Symphony Hall, where the graduates donned their caps and gowns and were officially conferred with their Doctor of Medicine degrees.
“Today is a day of celebration for all of us in the Class of 2017, but more so for our families as well as us. It is a culmination of the last four years of hard work, dedication and a lot of love and support along the way that got us to where we are today,” Catherine Coyne, MD, said. “When I stepped on campus four years ago, I would never have thought this would become my second family here in Phoenix. Although I am leaving for my surgery residency at the University of Iowa, Phoenix will always hold a place in my heart.”
In 2007, the College opened its doors in what was the largest city in the nation without an allopathic (MD-granting) medical school. Over the last seven years, the school has graduated 354 medical students to help address the critical shortage of physicians in Arizona.
Kenneth S. Ramos, MD, PhD, interim dean of the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix, opened the ceremony, by saying, “This is an honor and privilege to be standing here in front of you today. This has been one of the most rewarding roles of my career. This commencement celebration is a defining moment in the genesis of Arizona physicians. You walked in as students today, and you will walk out as newly-minted physicians.”
A hooding ceremony and the recitation of the oath were part of the festivities, which included a keynote address by Department of Child Health chair and professor Mitchell Shub, MD. Dr. Shub, one of the College’s founding members, discussed the history of the school and described his sense of pride in its growth. “My advice to you is to persevere in times of difficulty, be a kind and caring physician, and be honest with yourself and with your patients,” he said.
Graduating senior Sarah Monks, MD, who will begin her residency as the University of North Carolina Hospital in Emergency Medicine, delivered the student address. “I want to thank you; you all have been a part of the best four years of my life,” she said. “Thank you for showing me how to be a good student, how to be a good person, for inspiring me to stay late and care more. Thank you for teaching me how to study hard, and thank you for just doing you. This class is special, and I feel so lucky to be a part of it and to be graduating with you today.”
One-third of this year’s class of 81 will stay in Arizona for their residency training, while 51 students will train outside of the state at prestigious programs such as Stanford University, Duke University Medical Center, Yale-New Haven Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine and UCLA Medical Center.
“There are times where the day felt very long, whether I was studying for boards or it was a 20-hour day on a surgery rotation, but over the greater scheme of things, the last four years have gone by in an absolute flash,” graduate Eduardo Salazar, MD, said. “It feels like yesterday that I was interviewing, hoping that I would get into medical school; it feels like yesterday it was White Coat Ceremony; and it feels like yesterday that I was terrified walking through the hospital with patient care responsibilities for the first time. It has all gone by so quickly, even if there were days that felt like they would never end.”
About the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix
The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix admitted its inaugural class of first-year medical students in August 2007 and is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. The College inspires and trains exemplary physicians, scientists and leaders to optimize health and health care in Arizona and beyond. The College is uniquely positioned to accelerate the biomedical and economic engines in Phoenix and the State by leveraging vital relationships with key clinical and community partners. For more, visit phoenixmed.arizona.edu/tenyears.