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2007 Commencement Remarks -
Dr. William Magee, Dr. Gregory Poland
and Dr. Catherine Gaffigan

 (audio file)

May 9, 2007                                                   

SIU Med School to Graduate 69 New Physicians

Commencement exercises for the 33rd graduating class of Southern Illinois University School of Medicine will be held at noon Saturday, May 19.  Sixty-nine physicians, including two earning combined MD-JD degrees, will graduate during the ceremony, which is held in the Sangamon Auditorium at the University of Illinois at Springfield.  One doctoral and one master’s degree student also will participate in the ceremony.

The commencement speaker is Dr. William P. Magee Jr., co-founder and chief executive officer of Operation Smile.  A plastic and craniofacial surgeon, Magee founded Operation Smile in 1982 with his wife, Kathleen S. Magee.  As a private, not-for-profit volunteer medical services organization, it provides reconstructive surgery and related health care to indigent children and young adults in developing countries and the United States.  Magee also trains international physicians in craniofacial techniques through Operation Smile's programs.

During the ceremony, Catherine N. Gaffigan of Springfield, class chair, will deliver remarks on behalf of the graduates.  Dr. J. Kevin Dorsey, Ph.D., dean and provost, will open the convocation, while Dr. Erik J. Constance, associate dean for student affairs, will introduce each graduate.  SIUC Interim Chancellor John M. Dunn, Ed.D., will confer the degrees, while SIU President Glenn W. Poshard, Ph.D., will award diplomas to the medical students.

Morris D. Cooper, Ph.D., professor and chair of medical microbiology, immunology and cell biology, will present the graduate student candidates and David L. Wilson, Ph.D., associate dean of the SIUC Graduate School, will present their diplomas.  Peter C. Alexander, J.D., dean of the SIU School of Law, will present diplomas to the MD-JD students.

The graduates have honored two faculty with roles during the ceremony.  Dr. Gary L. Dunnington, professor and chair of surgery, will read the Hippocratic Oath and Dorsey will hood the graduates.  The class previously honored Dr. Abdeen Farah Musa, a former anatomy instructor, as the Carbondale Teacher of the Year for his efforts during their first year.

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

In addition, an alumnus will receive the School’s distinguished alumnus award from the School’s Alumni Society Board of Governors, which recognizes outstanding contributions to medicine and distinguished service to humankind.  The 2007 recipient is Dr. Gregory A. Poland, class of 1980, who is being recognized as one of the world’s leading experts in vaccinology, clinical research and biodefense.  Poland is the Mary Lowell Leary Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn., and directs its vaccine research group.  He has received numerous awards including the Charles Merieux Lifetime Achievement Award in Vaccinology and Immunology and the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service.

Other faculty will be honored at the graduation reception Friday evening.  Dr. David S. Resch, associate professor of medicine and psychiatry and interim chair of medicine, will receive the Golden Apple Award for outstanding teaching.  The Alpha Omega Alpha Volunteer Faculty Award will be presented to Dr. Robert Lowenthal of Springfield Eye Consultants who is being recognized for being “exactly the kind of volunteer faculty who exemplifies the best of SIU, demonstrating the core principles of our school -- caring, respect and integrity.”

The new SIU physicians will begin residency training in their chosen specialty fields in July.  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, 2,061 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