The University of Illinois College of Medicine celebrated its 139th commencement on Friday, May 7, honoring 380 graduating students from its various degree programs.
For the second straight year, the event was livestreamed and celebrated virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The livestream recording is available on the College’s YouTube channel. And an electronic version of the commemorative program also is available.
Two hundred eighty-nine students earned their MD degrees, constituting one of the largest graduating medical classes in the United States. The Class of 2021 includes 178 who have completed the MD degree in Chicago, 51 in Peoria, 48 in Rockford, and 12 in Urbana.
These new physicians will continue their professional training in one of 24 medical specialties across 34 states. In addition, 105 of those who graduated will be entering their residency programs in Illinois. One in five physicians currently practicing in Illinois received their MD degree from the College of Medicine, and more than 40 percent completed some portion of their training in UI COM programs.
The College also awarded 23 PhD degrees, and 57 master’s degrees, spanning physiology and biophysics, patient safety leadership, business administration, and clinical translational sciences.
Senior Associate Dean for Educational Affairs Raymond H. Curry, MD, FACP, once again served as grand marshal of the ceremony and was followed by recorded greetings from University of Illinois System President Timothy L. Killeen, PhD, UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis, PhD, and Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs Robert Barish, MD, MBA.
“We’re together today in the midst of a set of unprecedented circumstances,” Executive Dean Mark I. Rosenblatt, MD, PhD, MBA, MHA, told the graduating students. “We all wish we could be together today to share this special moment with you, your family, and your friends. The pandemic prevents that. But it doesn’t make this moment any less special, though it certainly makes it unique.
“This is a special day and a proud achievement. I know that each of you has worked diligently to reach this day, and you should take great satisfaction in your accomplishments. Your training here at the College of Medicine has prepared you for what lies ahead. Trust in that training.”
The regional deans from each campus – Peoria’s Meenakshy Aiyer, MD, MACP; Rockford’s Alex Stagnaro-Green, MD, MHPE, MHA; and Urbana’s Janet Jokela, MD, MPH, FACP, FIDSA – shared congratulations and honored their campus’s Golden Apple Award recipients.
Senior Associate Dean of Students Kathleen Kashima, PhD, presented the honors for Alpha Omega Alpha, Gold Humanism Honor Society, Honors Graduates, and the Arnold P. Gold Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award.
Dr. Rosenblatt also honored the recipients of the Dean’s Distinguished Service Award, the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Healthcare Leadership, the Distinguished Faculty Award, and the Faculty of the Year Award. He then recognized the Chicago 2021 Golden Apple Award recipients.
You may find a list of award recipients in the commencement event lineup.
After Dr. Rosenblatt and graduating student Mathew Durst, MD, PhD, led graduating students in the Physician’s Pledge, Dr. Curry closed out the ceremony.
“You now enter the profession ready to meet the new challenges before us,” Dr. Curry said. “We welcome you with open arms, and great expectations.”