Commencement Ceremony Celebrates Class of 2022
May 17, 2022
By Lisa Ryan
The class of 2022 celebrated Commencement at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts at 9 a.m. on May 13, with an audience of family, friends, Drexel faculty and staff. The ceremony celebrated 552 MD program and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies students as they became alumni.
When the processional played, MD, MS, PhD and dual degree students crossed the stage led by the traditional macebearer; the academic procession followed. The 2022 ceremony was the first to take place on the Kimmel Center’s stage since the COVID-19 pandemic, and the return to tradition added to the day’s celebratory mood.
Drexel community members and graduates’ loved ones filled the Kimmel Center with cheers and applause. The Commencement ceremony was also streamed live for those who could not attend in person and is archived online.
Before the students received their degrees, Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Dean and Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs Charles B. Cairns, MD, addressed the graduates.
“All of you have faced adversities unique to this time in our history, as a school and as a global community, and you have met these challenges effectively and with great courage,” Cairns said. “You have supported one another personally and academically, reminding all of us that the College of Medicine’s culture of caring lives on in you.”
Teachers also play a supportive role in students’ lives during their time in school; to acknowledge that connection, students received their diplomas following a ceremonial hooding by faculty mentors.
During the ceremony, MD program graduates recited the Physician's Pledge, promising to dedicate their lives to serve humanity and put the health and well-being of their patients first. This year, 244 MD program graduates recited the oath that will guide them through their upcoming residencies and throughout their careers.
Ayman S. Bodair, MD ’19 and Captain in the Medical Corps of the United States Army, led the Oath of Office for MD Officers, students who are graduating into service as medical corps officers in the military.
Of the MD program’s graduates:
- 236 completed the MD program
- 3 completed the joint MD/PhD program
- 8 completed a joint MD/MS, MD/MPH, or MD/MBA program
The class of 2022 also included 280 master's degree students and 23 PhD students. They completed biomedical science, pre-medical/pre-health and career-oriented programs that have prepared them for success in the next stage of their education or careers.
Graduates and Commencement attendees heard an address from Sarah S. Long, MD, an associate professor of pediatrics, chief of infectious diseases at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, and celebrated educator. Long encouraged graduates to learn from everyone they encounter in the course of their careers, to learn from failures and setbacks, and to find joy in their day-to-day work.
"Don't overlook the small things that will spark joy and sustain you in your work,” she said. "You are the future, and the future is now. Grab it, embrace it, wrestle it down. Make it your own and make it worthwhile."
Student speaker Kara M. Jacobs, graduating from the MD Program, encouraged her fellow graduates to use the challenges they met during their studies as motivation when they face roadblocks in the next stages of their lives. "There will be tough days ahead, likely some even tougher than we expect," she said. "But if we remember where we've come from and what we've already overcome, if we remember to ask for and to offer help, to forgive, to educate, and to love, we will be triumphant."
MD and graduate students were honored with awards at separate ceremonies leading up to Commencement. During Friday’s ceremony, Dean Cairns announced the winners of the Dean’s Special Awards for Excellence in Clinical Teaching, which annually honor outstanding educators at College of Medicine affiliate and regional campuses.
In addition to celebrating the Class of 2022, the Commencement ceremony also honored College of Medicine community members who helped pave the way for today's students.
Dean Cairns thanked the 50-year alumni of College of Medicine legacy schools Hahnemann Medical College and Woman’s Medical College for their ongoing contributions to the College of Medicine community. Lynn Yeakel, former director of the Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership and the Betty A. Cohen Chair in Women's Health, was honored posthumously for her longtime leadership, and contributions to gender equality in the Philadelphia region and beyond.
Yeakel founded the Woman One Award and Scholarship Fund program and the national gender equality initiative Vision 2020, now named VisionForward. Drexel is proud to have conferred upon Yeakel the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.
“Lynn's unrelenting advocacy for women’s equality was an immeasurable gift to the College of Medicine community,” Dean Cairns said, while presenting the award. “Her legacy will undoubtedly continue at Drexel and beyond."
Community-building and service were themes of Friday’s ceremony. During his speech, Dean Cairns commended the class of 2022 for their work mentoring local primary school students, helping provide health care to underserved Philadelphians, and enhancing equity and inclusion.
“We are certain that you are leaving the College of Medicine as confident, thoughtful and compassionate innovators, healers, seekers and teachers yourselves,” Cairns said. “We know that you will be instrumental in shaping the world for years to come.”