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Commencement Ceremony Celebrates Class of 2024

May 10, 2024

By August Ryan

The class of 2024 celebrated Commencement at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on May 9. The traditional ceremony recognized a graduating class in which nearly half of its students entered the College of Medicine under nontraditional circumstances: remotely and at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

An audience of family, friends, Drexel leadership, special guests, faculty, alumni and professional staff gathered to mark the next step in the careers of MD, MS, PhD and dual degree students. The ceremony celebrated 528 MD program and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies graduates.

The Commencement ceremony was also streamed live for those who could not attend in person and is archived online.

Drexel University College of Medicine Commencement 2024
Drexel University College of Medicine Commencement 2024

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. "The College of Medicine and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies have done their best to prepare you with knowledge, but also with the skills you’ll need to succeed as innovators, seekers and healers: curiosity, humility, adaptability and open-mindedness,” Cairns said. “We are seeing you off today confident that you are equipped to make the world a better place.”

The class of 2024 accomplished much during their time at the College of Medicine. They presented at meetings of professional societies, published in prestigious journals, and researched such topics as prostate cancer and breast cancer, vaccine efficacy and antibiotic resistance. Other graduates participated in community health outreach throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 2024 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 ’19, captain in the United States Army medical corps and a critical care fellow at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, led the Oath of Office for MD Officers for those who are graduating into service in the military.

MD and graduate students were honored with awards at separate ceremonies leading up to Commencement. During Thursday’s ceremony, Dean Cairns announced the winners of the Dean’s Special Awards for Excellence in Clinical Teaching, which annually recognize outstanding educators at College of Medicine affiliates and regional campuses.

Drexel University College of Medicine Commencement 2024
Drexel University College of Medicine Commencement 2024

Drexel University President John Fry praised graduates’ achievements and wished them future success.

“Drexel graduates: Whether you’re treating patients directly, shaping health policies, conducting research, or educating future innovators and healers, I hope you will always uphold the highest standards of your profession,” Fry said. “As practitioners and advocates, never stop working to reduce health disparities by promoting equitable access to quality care. Always seek to be a force for good in the lives of all you meet and treat. And in your most rewarding yet grueling of pursuits, please remember to be good to yourselves.”

Graduates and Commencement attendees heard an address from honorary degree recipient Vicki L. Chandler, PhD, one of the foremost geneticists in the world and chief academic officer and provost at Minerva University. In 2014, she was appointed to the National Science Board by President Barack Obama for a six-year term, and her pioneering research on the control of gene expression in plants and animals has garnered numerous awards.

"Your career struggles will be easier if you are guided by a dream and a passion for what you are driven to accomplish,” Chandler advised. After the ceremony, students took photos with friends and hugged their loved ones, filling the lobby of the Kimmel Center with an air of excitement.

Madison Dew, MD, class of 2024, is looking forward to her neurology residency in Chicago, Ill.

“I’m so excited,” she said. “Today was great, but I feel like it hasn’t hit me yet. Standing up on stage was surreal and amazing.”

Take a look at photos from the class of 2024 Commencement.

View highlights and video on Instagram.