The medical arm of Stony Brook University held its 45th convocation ceremony May 23 at the Staller Center. The event was the first time medical degrees were presented under the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University moniker.
Of the 129 receiving medical degrees, 53 of the graduates were hooded by a family member who has a doctoral degree. At a hooding ceremony, each degree candidate is named and receives a hood. The family members on hand for the SBU hooding included 36 parents, 11 siblings and three spouses, according to a press release from the university. Others were hooded by a faculty mentor.
Graduates, who range in age between 25 and 45, will begin their training this summer at medical facilities in New York state and around the country.
Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky, School of Medicine dean, introduced the graduates, and New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker delivered the convocation address.
Kaushansky talked about the obstacles that face the medical profession, including budget deficits that hamstring state hospitals, Medicare and Medicaid cutbacks and malpractice insurance premiums going up. He also reminded the graduates that they now take on the responsibility of life-long learning as advances are continually made in the medical field.
“As physicians you will be frequently in the position to affect life-altering decisions,” he said.
Zucker reminded the graduates that one day they will be in a position to save a person’s life.
“Be daring and help your patients should others turn a blind eye,” he said. “And remember that the stethoscope allows our ears to listen to the patient’s heart sounds, but it’s our heart that hears their words and their life stories.”
The convocation speaker also said as doctors manage the challenges such as exhaustion, missed family gatherings and losing patients, they will experience tears of their own.
“You will find yourself as we all have in a room where the tears are your own because a child never had a chance to look with awe at the giraffes at the zoo,” he said, adding that in those times doctors must remind themselves that they did all they could, but it wasn’t meant to be.
“Let those experiences become lessons about being human and ask questions of your mentors and colleagues,” he said. “Foolish is the one who fails to wonder why.”