Lisa Sanders, a physician, professor and New York Times columnist, told the Class of 2021 “to be the doctor of your dreams” Tuesday at Commencement exercises for the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University. Watch the ceremony.
“You’re at a point in your career when you need to go from automatic pilot to the manual controls,” Sanders said. “It’s time for you to take charge of your mind, your heart, your very soul, and certainly, your career. In order to be the doctor of your dreams, you’re going to have to fight for it. Your patients need that doctor. But just as importantly, so do you.”
In total, 95 medical doctor degrees were conferred during an in-person ceremony on the Mount Carmel Quad. In addition, four medical school students graduated from the Master of Medical Science Anesthesiologist Assistant program.
President Judy Olian praised the Class of 2021 graduates for its commitment to each other and the community.
“Throughout the pandemic, you’ve given back to our neighbors and local communities in a myriad of ways,” Olian said. “As our state and nation grappled with the spread of COVID-19, your medical instincts kicked in — you connected with vulnerable seniors who were feeling isolated, and helped create and distribute PPE.”
“I am so proud of you,” she added. “Please remain a Bobcat for life, and know you’ll always have a home here at Quinnipiac — and we hope you will come back to your home away from home often.”
Bruce Koeppen, founding dean of the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine, was also celebrated during the ceremony. Koeppen is retiring this summer after a nearly 40-year career in academic medicine.
“Today is also a time of transition for me. This is my last Commencement ceremony at Netter,” said Koeppen, his heartfelt words trembling with emotion.
“When our inaugural class — the Class of 2017 graduated — they were described as heroic for taking the chance on this brand-new medical school,” Koeppen said. “They were called resilient and adaptable, as together, we worked through our growing pains. By comparison, you — the members of the Class of 2021 — were and are heroic, resilient and adaptable beyond description.”
Provost Debra Liebowitz, who opened the Commencement, lauded the graduates as well.
“You have completed your medical studies in the midst of unprecedented times, and continually showed resiliency and grit — while always rising to every challenge that has come your way,” Liebowitz said.
Tiffany Rose, MD ’21, sang the national anthem at the ceremony. Sneha Alaparthi, MD ’21, delivered the student remarks for the class.
“There may still be times in our lives when we feel the victim of circumstance,” Alaparthi said. “To this I reply: Take a moment for yourself, lean on your loved ones, remember your Netter connections and then remember: Why not me?”