Hybrid Commencement Celebrates Class of 2021
May 24, 2021
By Lisa Ryan
The College of Medicine celebrated the Class of 2021 in a hybrid ceremony on Tuesday, May 18. Some Drexel University community members gathered at The Mann Center for the Performing Arts for the 2 p.m. festivities, while others joined in online to watch via a live broadcast.
This year's virtual Commencement celebrated 532 graduates as they transitioned from students to alumni.
The Class of 2021 included 21 PhD students and 264 master’s degree students. Of the MD Program’s 247 graduates:
- 5 completed the joint MD/PhD Program
- 45 completed a joint MD/MS, MD/MPH, or MD/MBA Program
A recording of the live ceremony for MD, MS and PhD students is archived online, as is a recording of a fully virtual ceremony for graduates in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies, which was broadcast on May 21.
Drexel is proud to have conferred upon Drew Weissman, MD, PhD, the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa for contributing to the advancement of global public health. Dr. Weissman, who gave the 2021 Commencement address, is best known for his work with RNA biology that laid the groundwork for the mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna.
Weissman encouraged the Class of 2021 to chase new ideas, and to approach the unknown with scientific curiosity.
“You need to make the commitment to yourself that when you’re presented with an unusual problem or situation, you’re going to think about it and investigate how to understand it,” he said. “The approach that you take will determine how happy and how successful you’ll be. It’s important to be an inquisitive student for your entire life.”
Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Dean and Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs Charles B. Cairns, MD, also addressed graduates during the ceremonies. He highlighted their high level of community engagement, including efforts to help frontline health professionals at the start of the pandemic and to assist in advancing health equity.
“The world looks very different than it did when you began your time at Drexel,” Cairns said. “We are certain you will enter this new world as compassionate and thoughtful healers, innovators, seekers and teachers. We know you will be instrumental in shaping the world for years to come.”
Drexel University President John Fry addressed graduates, as well.
“You are embarking on careers in the sciences and all fields of medicine at a pivotal moment in the history of humankind,” he said. “We look to you to help us emerge whole from the current crisis, and we are confident that, as graduates of the Drexel University College of Medicine, you are ready.”