Hooray! It’s Graduation Day!
raduation day — the pinnacle of every student’s career. And what a day it was. Gorgeous sunny weather, flowers in every hue, balloons, lots of well-wishers, colored beach balls batted playfully in the air. May 22 marked UMDNJ’s 37th annual commencement with the largest graduating class in its history. The 1,479 newly minted physicians, dentists, nurses and other health professionals cheered joyfully when the time came to move their tassels from right to left, signifying their official progression from student to graduate.
Adding to the day’s memorability was the keynote address by Atul Gawande, MD, former Rhodes Scholar, 2006 recipient of a MacArthur fellow grant, surgeon and gifted writer. An assistant professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School/Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Gawande also writes for The New Yorker and The New England Journal of Medicine, and was a National Book Award finalist for Complications, A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science, published in 2002.
The son of two physicians, Gawande is very familiar with Newark. His father did his residency at Martland Hospital on Bergen Street, the University’s primary teaching hospital until 1979, when UMDNJ-University Hospital opened its doors.
“I know the stories that start at UMDNJ. I can tell you that because I'm one of them,” he told the mostly-New Jersey crowd. Gawande was presented with an honorary doctor of