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Commencement Ceremony Celebrates Class of 2023

May 15, 2023

By Lisa Ryan

The class of 2023 celebrated Commencement at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on May 12, with an audience of family, friends, Drexel leadership, special guests, faculty, alumni and professional staff. The ceremony celebrated over 550 MD program and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies students as they became alumni.

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When the processional played, MD, MS, PhD and dual degree students entered the auditorium. 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 and donned their hoods, Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Dean and Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs Charles B. Cairns, MD, addressed the graduates. He emphasized the day’s theme of community and support.

“You have supported one another personally and academically, and collectively helped us to thrive as an institution,” Cairns said. “Your support for each other mirrors the support you gave the Philadelphia community. We know that you will be instrumental in shaping the world beyond our local communities and for years to come.”

The class of 2023 has participated in many health outreach initiatives, from distributing hygiene kits, food and water in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood, to undertaking global health trips and projects. Students have also helped advance scientific knowledge through research, poster and platform presentations at prestigious conferences, and publication in scientific journals.

Service will play an important role in graduates’ lives and careers well beyond their time at the College of Medicine. 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. The class of 2023 master’s degree and PhD students 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.

Ayman S. Bodair, MD class of 2019, captain in the United States Army medical corps and an internal medicine resident at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, led the Oath of Office for MD Officers, students who are graduating into service as medical corps officers in the military.

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 recognizes outstanding educators at College of Medicine affiliate and regional campuses.

During the commencement ceremony, Drexel University President John Fry praised graduates’ achievements.

“Your accomplishments fill me with confidence that the future of democracy and humanity is in the very best of hands,” he said. “I am tremendously proud to call all of you Drexel graduates.”

Graduates and Commencement attendees heard an address from John H. Glick, MD, emeritus professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and former vice president and associate dean for resource development. He was the longest-serving director of Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center, and a pioneering oncologist.

“I am not the same doctor that I was when I graduated from medical school in 1969 and you will not be the same person in ten years that you are today,” Glick said. “What you have today, thanks to Drexel, is an excellent foundation to learn, grow and mature. I urge you to continue your daily learning, and to enhance your abilities. I salute you at the beginning of the next phase of your career.”