May 24, 2006
Contact: Anna Farneski
Commencement Ceremony Held for Largest Class in UMDNJ's History
Dr. Bruce C. Vladeck, interim president, delivered keynote address
to 1,476 graduates
HOLMDEL—Today, during the 36th Annual Commencement Ceremony, Dr. Bruce C. Vladeck, interim president of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, delivered a keynote address to the largest class of graduates in the university's history.
During a ceremony at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, 1,476 health professionals received their diplomas – nearly a 20 percent increase in the number of 2005 graduates.
"Our greatest celebration occurs when those who are most important to us, and who embody the central purpose and goal of our work – our students – leave us," Dr. Vladeck said. "That's a reminder that the fundamental role of universities is one of renewal and growth – to provide the next generation of society's leaders with the tools they will need to leave us behind."
During his address to the graduates from UMDNJ's eight schools, Dr. Vladeck, said, "The fact that all of you are here today reaffirms not only the fundamental importance of this institution to the people of New Jersey and the broader society, but also demonstrates – once again – that amidst all the turmoil and the very real problems, the basic work of this place continues to get done, generally with great distinction."
Dr. Vladeck challenged the graduates to use their knowledge and skills to help improve our nation's health care system. "You are the ones who will have to become involved, use your knowledge, and exert the influence which is tied to your expertise, to create the changes society needs," he said.
For a complete text of his speech, go to the President's Page.
During the ceremony three honorary degrees were conferred and two Distinguished Alumnus awards were presented.
The Honorary Degree recipients were:
Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and chief executive officer of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Mr. Ellis Rubinstein, president and chief executive officer of the New York Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Lawrence A. Tabak, director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research at the National Institutes of Health.
Two Distinguished Alumnus Awards for 2006 were presented to:
Dr. Benjamin S. Wilfond, a graduate of the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, head of the Bioethics and Social Policy Research Unit and the Bioethics Core of the National Human Genome Research Institute of the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Vincent W. Yang, a board certified internal medicine physician, earned his medical degree at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, is director of the Division of Digestive Diseases in the Department of Medicine, Professor of Hematology and Oncology in the Winship Cancer Institute, and Director of the Gastroenterology Fellowship Training Program.