The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai celebrated its 49th commencement ceremony on Friday, May 11 at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall and granted a total of 233 degrees.
Over the course of their academic careers, the class of 2018 took on national and local leadership roles in human rights and social justice movements to undo racism and bias in the medical professions; authored books and publications to improve the state of domestic and international health care; conducted groundbreaking research in immunotherapies and anti-viral treatments; organized around a national movement to protect patients; 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 2018 joins a network of accomplished alumni, known the world over for their integrity, discovery, altruism, and clinical and research excellence.
Kenneth L. Davis, MD, CEO and President of the Mount Sinai Health System, opened the proceedings with a riveting speech to the next generation of leaders. “Four years ago, we asked you to come here because we saw in you the promise of leadership. Now your job is to prove us right.” With a nod to the School’s mission and the country’s shifting social climate, Dr. Davis urged the graduating class to continue to be change agents in their practice and beyond. “Today as you get your degree in medicine, let it also double as a degree in changing the world. As you accept your diplomas, I hope you also accept the responsibility that comes with it," 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.
In celebration of the Icahn School of Medicine’s 50th Anniversary, Dean Charney commented on the School’s successes through the years, which were only made possible by standing on the shoulders of founding leaders (or Giants) at Mount Sinai. Dean Charney paid homage to the School’s current Giants, some of whom served as the platform party and included: Nathan Kase, MD; Kurt Hirschorn, MD; Sandra Masur, PhD; Janice Gabrilove, MD; Jeffrey Laitman, PhD; and Gary Butts, MD among others.
Dr. Charney encouraged the graduating class to reflect on the work that’s left to accomplish over the next fifty years and beyond. Expressing his confidence in the class of 2018, he encouraged the graduates to close the inequitable gaps that persist in medicine and science; discover novel treatments for those who continue to suffer, and to carry the values held by the institution throughout their careers.
Timothy P. Shriver, PhD, Chairman of the Board, Special Olympics, delivered the Commencement Address, advising this year’s graduates to be people who choose to heal—in medicine, research, and humanity. He encouraged this year’s graduates to use their revered positions to empower, unify, and restore trust in every encounter with others. “I ask you to have the eyes to see; to tell people that they belong; to put science and the spirit together,” he advised
In addition to Dr. Shriver, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai awarded Honorary Degrees to: Cecile Richards, Former President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund; Cato L. Laurencin, MD, PhD, Director, Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Biomedical, Biological, Physical and Engineering Sciences, University of Connecticut; Douglas R. Lowy, MD, Deputy Director, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health; and Nora D. Volkow, MD, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The Icahn School of Medicine granted a total of 233 degrees which consisted of 145 MDs, 64 PhDs, and 24 Dual Degrees (12 MD/PhDs, 7 MD/MPHs, and 5 MD/MSCRs).
The 2018 Achievement Awards were presented separately on Thursday, May 10 to outstanding Medical, PhD, and Dual Degree students, followed by a Dean’s reception which was attended by students, parents, faculty, and guests. Learn more.