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May 9, 2006

SIU Med School to Graduate 75 New Physicians

Commencement exercises for the 32nd graduating class of Southern Illinois University School of Medicine will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 20. Seventy-five physicians and two doctoral students will graduate during the ceremony, which is held in the Sangamon Auditorium at the University of Illinois at Springfield.

The commencement speaker, Senator Barack Obama, is known for his work in public service as a community organizer, civil rights attorney and as both an Illinois and U.S. senator. Senator Obama began his term as a U.S. Senator in January 2005 and serves as a member of the Environment and Public Works, the Foreign Relations and the Veteran’s Affairs Committees. He previously served in the Illinois Senate for seven years. Senator Obama earned his law degree from Harvard University where he was the first African American to serve as editor of the Harvard Law Review. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Columbia University.

Jason Gillihan of Mt. Carmel, class chair, will deliver remarks on behalf of the graduates. SIU President Glenn Poshard, Ph.D., will confer the degrees. Dr. J. Kevin Dorsey, Ph.D., dean and provost, will award diplomas to the medical students and Dr. Wesley G. Robinson-McNeese, executive assistant to the dean for diversity and associate professor of medicine and medical humanities, will introduce each graduate.

Carl Faingold, Ph.D., professor and chair of pharmacology, will present the doctoral candidates and John A. Koropchak, Ph.D., vice chancellor for research and graduate dean for SIUC, will present their diplomas.

The graduates have honored two of their teachers with roles during the ceremony. Dr. Andrew J. Varney, associate professor of medicine, will read the Hippocratic Oath and Dr. Erik J. Constance, associate dean for student affairs and associate professor of medicine , will hood the graduates. The class previously honored David Wade, Ph.D., now retired, as the Carbondale Teacher of the Year for his efforts their first year.

The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine awards will be announced during the ceremony and presented to both a faculty member and graduating senior who “embody compassion and sensitivity in the delivery of care to patients and their family members.”

The public can attend the ceremony though seating on the main floor will be reserved for the families and friends of medical school graduates.

Other faculty will be honored at the graduation reception Friday evening. Dr. Randy A. Kienstra, professor of pediatrics, will receive the Golden Apple Award for outstanding teaching. The Alpha Omega Alpha Volunteer Faculty Award will be presented to Dr. Reginald T. Bulkley, a Springfield community physician and SIU's chair of anesthesiology, who "generously donates time, skill and experience teaching students clinical skills."

The new SIU physicians will begin residency training in their chosen specialty fields in July. Primary care specialties -- family practice, internal medicine, obstetrics/gynecology and pediatrics – have attracted 54 percent of this graduating class. SIU School of Medicine is based in Carbondale and Springfield and is specifically oriented to educating new physicians prepared to practice in Illinois communities. Since 1975, 1,986 physicians, plus the new graduates in this class, have earned SIU medical degrees.

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thern Illinois University School of Medicine Office of Public Affairs News Releases P.O. Box 19621, Springfield IL 62794-9621, 217-545-2155