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   Class of 2023 Commencement


Friday, May 12, 2023
9 a.m. EDT
The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

The College of Medicine is planning an in-person graduation ceremony for the Class of 2023 on Friday, May 12 at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. The ceremony will include medical students and students in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies.

Additional information and event details will be added as we get closer to Commencement 2023.


College of Medicine Commencement 2023


About the Commencement Ceremony


Graduate Student Oath

I will represent my profession honorably by conducting myself and my professional endeavors in a manner that is above reproach. I pledge never to allow financial gain or ambition to cloud my judgment. I will pursue truth and create knowledge for the greater good, but never to the detriment of others. I will maintain scientific integrity in all my work. I will acknowledge and honor the contributions of those who have preceded me and will commit myself to lifelong learning. I will show compassion, embrace diversity and uphold excellence so that I become a worthy role model deserving of respect by all.

Physician's Pledge – World Medical Association Declaration of Geneva

The Physician's Pledge:


I SOLEMNLY PLEDGE to dedicate my life to the service of humanity;

THE HEALTH AND WELL-BEING OF MY PATIENT will be my first consideration;

I WILL RESPECT the autonomy and dignity of my patient;

I WILL MAINTAIN the utmost respect for human life;

I WILL NOT PERMIT considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing or any other factor to intervene between my duty and my patient;

I WILL RESPECT the secrets that are confided in me, even after the patient has died;

I WILL PRACTICE my profession with conscience and dignity and in accordance with good medical practice;

I WILL FOSTER the honor and noble traditions of the medical profession;

I WILL GIVE to my teachers, colleagues and students the respect and gratitude that is their due;

I WILL SHARE my medical knowledge for the benefit of the patient and the advancement of healthcare;

I WILL ATTEND TO my own health, well-being and abilities in order to provide care of the highest standard;

I WILL NOT USE my medical knowledge to violate human rights and civil liberties, even under threat;

I MAKE THESE PROMISES solemnly, freely and upon my honor.

©2017 World Medical Association

The Commencement Tradition

A tradition that reaches back nearly a thousand years, commencement symbolizes not so much the culmination of the years of effort on the part of both students and teachers, but rather the beginning—the commencement—of a productive social and professional life, and a life of continued learning.

The first university, the University of Bologna, was founded in Italy in 1162 and offered specialized education in the major professional fields of the medieval world: law, medicine, government and theology—areas that would dominate European and American higher education until the 20th century.

From Bologna, the concept of university education spread throughout Europe and later to the New World. The pageantry and symbolism of commencement are typified by the cap and gown, which in their original forms were simply the everyday attire of the medieval scholar. The additions of the centuries have made them what they are today.

The academic costume has three basic parts: the cap, the gown and the hood. Three factors must be taken into consideration—the degree (bachelor, master, doctor); the branch of knowledge (nursing, medicine, etc.); and the university by which the degree is granted. The bachelor's gown is black, has long sleeves and is worn closed. The master's gown is black but has short sleeves and a crescent cut at the sleeve end. Some are open at the wrist; others have a slit in the upper part of the sleeve. The doctor's gown is often black, preferably silk, with full, round sleeves that are barred in either black velvet or velvet of the color used in the hood to designate the branch of learning.

Many American universities, as well as British ones, now have gowns of characteristic color for doctoral graduates. For instance, a graduate of Harvard University may wear a crimson gown, a New York University graduate a violet gown, and a University of Pennsylvania graduate a gown of red and blue. The shape and size of the American hood mark the degree of the wearer. The lining of the hood is indicative of the institution granting the degree and is usually the official color or colors of the school. If two colors are used, one is generally arranged as a chevron upon the other. The bachelor's hood is three feet long, the master's three-and-a-half feet long, and the doctor's four feet long. Bachelor of Science and Master of Science candidates wear sun-gold hoods; Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts candidates white hoods. Doctor of Philosophy candidates wear blue hoods. Doctor of Medicine candidates wear green hoods. Candidates with annotated degrees may wear hoods of other colors, such as apricot (Bachelor and Master of Science in Nursing), teal (Master of Physical Therapy), and blue with white trim (Master of Arts, Creative Arts in Therapy), to name a few.

Caps are traditionally black with a long tassel fastened to the mid-point. A doctor's cap may have a tassel of gold thread. The tassel is worn on the right side until a degree has been conferred; it is then worn on the left. Commencement begins and ends with the academic procession, led by the chief marshal carrying the mace. The mace traces its origins to the Roman fasces, a bundle of rods bound together around an ax with the blade projecting, which was carried before magistrates as an emblem of authority. The ceremony officially begins with the placing of the mace before the graduates and ends when the chief marshal retrieves it and leads the recession. The color guard follows the marshal, with the candidates for degrees marching behind in reverse order of seniority—certificate, associate, and bachelor's first, master's next and doctoral third. The faculty follows, also proceeding in reverse order from assistant to full professor. The final division of the procession is the platform party, composed of academic deans, administrative officers, trustees, honorary degree recipients and the president.

Throughout their long and proud history, universities have retained and cherished strong ties to their ceremonial roots. The faculties and graduates have gloried in the rich imagery and colorful panoply associated with commencement, one of the oldest continuing rituals in the Western world.

History and Traditions of the University Mace

The mace was a medieval weapon intended to prevail over an armored adversary. As long-range weapons evolved, the mace became a ceremonial symbol denoting authority and was carried before a nobleman for protection, if necessary, from personal attack.

In academic processions, it has traditionally been carried by an academic officer of high standing. The selection of the officer to carry the mace may be governed by institutional tradition and may vary from ceremony to ceremony. The Drexel University mace is carried in the commencement procession to the stage, where it joins the maces of the College of Medicine's predecessor institutions. The Hahnemann mace was designed and carved by James Victor. The mace of the Medical College of Pennsylvania was designed by former dean Alton I. Sutnick, in conjunction with artist Richard Feldstein.

Drexel University College of Medicine Mace
Drexel University College of Medicine Mace 2017



Share Your Celebration on Social Media

We encourage graduates and their loved ones, as well as faculty and staff members, to use social media (#drexelmed2023) to share how they are celebrating commencement.

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Drexel University Board of Trustees

  • Alfred F. Altomari ’82
  • Chris McKendry Andrade '90
  • Michael Barry ’81
  • Jeffrey A. Beachell ’93
  • James Bean ’91
  • Sally J. Bellet, Esq.
  • Gregory S. Bentley
  • Thomas E. “Rick” Berk ’86
  • Ted Bryce ’93
  • Karen Dougherty Buchholz
  • Randall S. Burkert ’82
  • Thomas A. Caramanico
  • R. John Chapel Jr. ’67
  • Hon. Ida K. Chen
  • Kathleen P. Chimicles, ASA ’83
  • Della Clark
  • Abbie Dean ’08
  • Nicholas DeBenedictis ’68, ’69, HD ’87
  • Gerianne Tringali DiPiano
  • Domenic M. DiPiero III
  • Angela Dowd-Burton ’74, ’79
  • Thomas O. Fitzpatrick, Esq.
  • Brian R. Ford
  • Michael C. Forman
  • John A. Fry
  • Kenneth Fulmer, ’92, ’00
  • Sean J. Gallagher ’93
  • David R. Geltzer ’77
  • Richard A. Greenawalt ’66
  • David Griffith
  • Mauricio Gutierrez
  • Richard A. Hayne
    Vice Chairman
  • Nina Henderson
    Vice Chairman
  • Richard C. Ill ’73
  • Patricia H. Imbesi ’69
  • Joseph H. Jacovini, Esq., HD ’04
  • Thomas R. Kline, Esq.
  • Corina Lam ’10
  • J. Michael Lawrie ’77
  • Raphael C. Lee, MD ’75
  • Thomas Leonard, Esq., ’68
  • Jeffrey J. Lyash ’84
  • Jerry J. Martin ’77
  • Mark McAdoo ‘87
  • Patrick S. McGonigal '86
  • Matthew S. Naylor ’12
  • Denis P. O’Brien ’87
  • Kevin J. O’Hara '83
  • Richelle P. Parham ’91
  • Charles P. Pizzi
  • Thomas M. Rampulla '94
  • Kathleen Reardon ‘96
  • Maria C. Renz ’90
  • Malik J. Rose ’96, HD '09
  • Virginia S. Rose
  • Stan Silverman ’69, ’74
    Vice Chairman
  • Joseph P. Ujobai ’84
  • Charles K. Valutas ’73
  • Michael J. Williams ’80, ’83

Emeritus Trustees

  • Paul “Mel” Baiada ’82, ‘85
  • Sylvia "Sibby" Merkel Brasler ’60
  • Robert R. Buckley ’58, HD ’12
  • John G. "Jack" Johnson Jr. ’70, ’72
  • George F. Krall Jr. ’58, HD ’14
  • James E. Marks ’47, ’49, HD ’15
  • C.R. "Chuck" Pennoni ’63, ’66, HD ’92
  • D. Howard Pierce ’71
  • John J. Roberts ’67, ’71, HD ’05
  • William T. Schleyer ’73, HD ’06
  • Stephen A. Sheller, Esq. HD ’17
  • Ray Westphal ’59, HD ’02