2017 Commencement

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai celebrated its 48th commencement ceremony on Friday, May 12 at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. The School granted a total 450 degrees and held two ceremonies: the MD, PhD and Dual Degree Ceremony in the morning and the Master’s Degree Ceremony in the afternoon.

Over the course of their academic careers, the class of 2017 contributed to designing new aspects of the School’s curriculum, published books and articles in leading scientific journals, received prestigious grants for national and international research, led the charge in social justice initiatives, created health care applications and for-profit companies, and has been recognized for providing unrivaled care locally through the East Harlem Health Outreach Partnership, as well as in the global community.

The class of 2017 joins a network of accomplished alumni, known the world over for their integrity, discovery, altruism, and clinical and research excellence.

Highlights of the Master’s Degree Ceremony

The Graduate School hosted its own Master’s Ceremony on Friday, May 12, at Alice Tully Hall. This was the second commencement ceremony under Marta Filizola,PhD, who became acting Dean of the Graduate School in 2016. 

In total, the Graduate School conferred 207 degrees, including: 121 Master’s in Public Health (the Graduate School’s oldest Master’s degree program) and 22 Master’s in Health Care Delivery Leadership program (one of the Graduate School’s newest Master’s programs). Master’s degrees were also conferred in Genetic Counseling (9), Biomedical Sciences (35), Biostatistics (3), and Clinical Research (17).

Welcome remarks were given by Eric J. Nestler, MD, PhD, Dean for Academic and Scientific Affairs and Director of the Friedman Brain Institute.

The commencement speaker was Helene D. Gayle, MD, MPH, CEO, McKinsey Social Initiative, a distinguished global health expert with more than 30 years of experience leading global and social issues. Dr. Gayle also received an honorary Doctor of Science degree. 

Highlights of the MD, PhD, Dual Degree Ceremony

The Icahn School of Medicine granted a total of 243 degrees during its MD, PhD, and Dual Degree Ceremony held on Friday, May 12. These consisted of 139 MDs, 79 PhDs, and 25 Dual Degrees, which included 11 MD/PhDs, 9 MD/MPHs, and 5 MD/MSCRs.

Opening remarks were given by Kenneth L. Davis, MD, CEO and President of the Mount Sinai Health System, who advised the graduates to never forget what the practice of medicine requires: compassion and empathy. In light of the changing political and social climate, he urged the graduating class to hold firm to their core values of compassionate care, which they’ve been taught during their tenure at the School of Medicine.  “As graduates of our school, I want you to hold to these core values because the compassion you feel, will never allow you to abandon the most vulnerable,” he said. Peter W. May, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Mount Sinai Health System; and Dennis S. Charney, MD, Dean of the Icahn School of Medicine, followed Dr. Davis’ opening remarks to the graduates with some of their own. They expressed resolute confidence in the graduating class’ ability of becoming formidable leaders in health care, and encouraged them to continue dreaming big to change the world.

Vivek H. Murthy, MD, MBA, 19th Surgeon General of the United States, delivered the Commencement Address, advising this year’s graduates to embrace their roles as moral leaders in society and to use their powerful voices to effect change. “Your obligation from this day forward, is to stand up for the vulnerable and the voiceless. If that means engaging in controversy, then do it,” he said.

In addition to Dr. Murthy, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai awarded Honorary Degrees to the following: Bernard J. Tyson, Chairman and C  EO, Kaiser Permanente; C. David Allis, PhD, Joy and Jack Fishman Professor, Head, Laboratory of  Chromatin Biology & Epigenetics, The Rockefeller University; Jennifer Doudna, PhD, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, HHMI Investigator, University of California, Berkeley; and Howard Alan Zucker, MD, JD, Commissioner, Department of Health, State of New York.

Achievement Awards

The 2017 Achievement Awards were presented separately on Thursday, May 11 to outstanding Medical and Graduate School students, followed by a Dean’s reception which was attended by students, parents, faculty, and guests. Read more about the 2017 Achievement Ceremony here.