For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Biomedical Studies Student Marc Hem Lee's Pre-Commencement Ceremony Speech

Drexel Biomedical Studies program graduate Marc Hem Lee

The following speech was given by Marc at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies Pre-Commencement Award/Hood Presentation Ceremony on May 16, 2018.

Deans Van Bockstaele, Anandan, and Shumsky, Program Directors, Faculty, Staff, Distinguished Guests, Parents and my Fellow Students:

My aunt, who is more like a mother to me, always says that there are three things you cannot take back: spoken word, written word and a missed opportunity. I'll take this opportunity given to me to share a few brief words that I've written—a story, a lesson, a hope, a Philadelphia pop-culture reference and a wish—all placed in the greater context of my two years here at Drexel.

I'll start by sharing a story about a student whose vision for his life faded with each bout of adversity. His life's path, however, teaches him many things, and it takes him a number of years, and a number of journeys, to learn the meaning and the value of being empowered by his own choices. Every day is a new chance to sharpen his vision and to take steps toward it, and the ultimate measure of his success is the gratitude he expresses when things go well, and the grace he musters when they don't.

Now this may resonate with many students' experiences here today, including the challenges, as these are shared by many who are called to serve. But I believe that the lesson remains—that we, with our similar stories of the adversities of our past, stories shaped by the words of yesterday, each have the capacity to choose differently for ourselves. Choosing these programs here at Drexel is proof of our empowerment and gives new meaning and perspective to the degree we will receive in a few days.

I have great hope that soon we won't be called non-traditional students—we will be the newly traditional students… a working title… because the resiliency and grit of a person who winds the circuitous path of life and still chooses medicine, or other health professions, will be noteworthy. Our stories will enrich the profession, and we should wear those stories as earnestly as we wear our white coats.

Drexel, too, has distinguished itself as an institution that welcomes the circuitous student, and, through programs like these, help to lead the way in shaping the future of the profession. In true Philadelphia spirit, we are given another round in the ring so that we may emerge victorious in the pursuit of a meaningful life, even if it may take climbing many steps to get there.

When we walk across the stage on Friday, we are not stepping off a cliff into oblivion, but are taking a solid step forward, with the road of multiple opportunities rising to meet us, and the wind of our Drexel support system at our backs. I am grateful for the spoken word of faculty lectures and student discussions, the written word of copious notes, and would not have missed this opportunity for the world, to make a lasting impact in my own life and the lives of others. Congratulations to the graduating class of 2018. Go with gratitude and grace. Thank you.

Biomedical Studies program graduate students in the classroom at Drexel University College of Medicine.

Upcoming Events

There are currently no upcoming events.