In his first commencement address to graduating students of the School of Medicine on May 20, Dean Steven Kanter, M.D., welcomed the Class of 2015 to the medical profession and encouraged each one not to sell themselves short.
As the keynote speaker, the first-year dean congratulated a class of more than 130 students receiving their medical degrees, master’s degrees in anesthesia and bioinformatics, and graduate certificates in clinical research. Kanter told those about to enter the medical profession that they are heirs of the longstanding traditions of excellence established by those who had graduated from the School of Medicine before them.
Borrowing from David Letterman, Kanter offered up his own Top 10 List with questions, comments and anxieties he said he had heard from students during the weeks leading up to graduation day and his replies. The top comment, he said, “I can’t wait to graduate, then I won’t have to tell the patient I am the student on the team. I can say, ‘I’m your health care provider.’ ”
“My advice,” Kanter said. “Don’t sell yourself short. You will be much more to your patients than just a health care provider.”
Providing care, he said, is only part of the role. As health care professionals, the graduates will also serve as healers, helpers and advocates for the sick.
“Go forth and embrace the challenges of our profession,” Kanter said. “You are about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime.”
Timothy Buie, M.D. ’84, recipient of the 2015 E. Grey Dimond, M.D., Take Wing Award, told the graduates that joy in life will come from the adventure itself and, while they may have a plan for their lives, they should be open to whatever opportunities may come.
“Be proud of your accomplishments, but be more proud of the way you accomplished them,” Buie said. “Do your work, care for your family, care for your patients, care for your colleagues with love, respect and empathy. You’ll be more proud of those accomplishments, and people will share those accomplishments with you.”
Medicine graduates were hooded by their individual docents just prior to the full class reciting the Oath of Physicians. For one grad, Lance Brandenburgh, the ceremony became a family affair as he carried his son, Beau, with him on the stage when he was hooded by his docent, Fariha Shafi, M.D.
UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton addressed the graduating class as well, saying that it had distinguished itself as a group of scholars, community volunteers and leaders. He said the graduates are well-prepared to meet the demands of a world that will expect a great deal of them. “I know that you are up to the challenge,” Morton said.
John Phillips, a member of the University of Missouri Board of Curators, also offered his congratulations and urged members of the class to use their knowledge to realize their full potential. “You have proven you have the dedication and the ambition to be successful in today’s constantly changing world,” he said. “Treasure this foundation and build wisely.”
Student Award Winners
Master of Science Anesthesia
- Landon Streed | Student Ambassador Award
Master of Science
- Timothy Fendler, M.D. | Academic Excellence Award
- Greyson Twist | Academic Excellence Award
Doctor of Medicine
- Leny Abraham | James F. Stanford, M.D. Patient Advocate Scholarship
- Lisa Brown | Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation
- Adnan Cheema | Pat. D. Do, M.D. Matching Scholarship in Orthopedics; UMKC School of Medicine Alumni Association Award for Excellence in Medical Education
- Kathryn Clarkston | Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation
- Steven Curti | Merck Manual for Outstanding Achievement in Medical Education; Missouri State Medical Association Honors Graduate
- Scott Helgeson | ACP Senior Student Book Award; Friends of UMKC School of Medicine Award for Research
- Bailey Hunkler | R. R. Hannas, M.D. Emergency Medicine Award
- Matthew Kliethermes | Malhotra Family Scholarship for Academic and Clinical Excellence; Friends of UMKC School of Medicine Basic Science Award
- Sheeba Kunnel | Michael de Ungria, M.D. Humanitarian Award
- Megan Litzau | Missouri State Medical Association Honors Graduate; Society for Academic Emergency Medicine Award; Thomas R. Hamilton, M.D. Award for Excellence in Microbiology; Thomas R. Hamilton, M.D. Award for Excellence in Pathology; Vice Chancellor’s Honor Roll Recipient Award; Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation
- Nishika Middasani | Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation
- Kaitlin Nickols | Laura L. Backus, M.D. Award for Excellence in Pediatrics
- Nasreen Quadri | Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation
- Christopher Schiavo | Bette Hamilton, M.D. Memorial Award for Excellence in Immunology; Malhotra Family Scholarship for Academic and Clinical Excellence
- Erin Sieck | Gold Humanism Leonard Tow Award
- Senthil Sukumar | Lee Langley Award; Merck Manual for Outstanding Achievement in Medical Education
- Jessica Van Mason | UMKC School of Medicine Alumni Award Association Outstanding Senior Partner
- Benjanmin Van Treek | Missouri State Medical Association Honors Graduate
- Kaitlin Vogt | Women in Medicine Scholarship Achievement Citation
- Samantha Wiemann | Friends of UMKC School of Medicine Harry S. Jonas, M.D. Award