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U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin to Deliver Commencement Address

May 3, 2011

Senator Arlen Specter will also receive honorary degree

U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., will deliver the keynote address during the Commencement ceremony for Drexel University College of Medicine on Friday, May 20 at 9 a.m. at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (Verizon Hall), 260 South Broad Street. A total of 443 students will receive MD, PhD and various master's degrees.

Benjamin is the 18th surgeon general of the United States Public Health Service. As America's Doctor, she provides the public with the best scientific information available on how to improve their health and the health of the nation. Benjamin also oversees the operational command of 6,500 uniformed health officers who serve in locations around the world to promote and protect the health of the American people.

"We are proud to have Dr. Benjamin as our keynote speaker, as she is an exceptional role model for our graduating students," said Richard V. Homan, MD, president and Annenberg Dean of Drexel University College of Medicine. "From caring for her patients in a part of rural Alabama ravaged by Hurricane Katrina to becoming the first physician under age 40 and the first African-American woman elected to the American Medical Association Board of Trustees, she is an example of the kind of physicians and health care professionals we want our students to be."

During the Commencement ceremony, Drexel University College of Medicine will bestow upon Benjamin an Honorary Doctorate of Science.

Also receiving an honorary degree is former United States Senator Arlen Specter. Specter will be presented with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters for his advocacy on behalf of the people of Pennsylvania and his contribution to the advancement of biomedical research and the improvement of the health of the nation. In his role as a senior member of the Appropriations Committee and ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education, Specter was instrumental in increasing the funding for education and doubling the budget for NIH.

In total, 443 students will receive degrees, including 273 Doctor of Medicine (MD) students. That's the largest class of medical students in Drexel University College of Medicine's history. Drexel has the largest medical student enrollment of any private medical school in the United States, educating one in every 71 new doctors in the United States.

Included among the 273 graduating MD students are:

  • 1 joint MD/PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
  • 1 joint MD/MBA (Master of Business Administration)
  • 1 joint MD/MPH (Master of Public Health)
  • 14 joint MD/BS

The following degrees will also be given:

  • 20 PhD
  • 155 Master of Science
  • 13 Master of Laboratory Animal Science