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SIU Medicine to Hold 44th Commencement

May 16, 2018
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine will hold its 44th commencement at noon on Saturday, May 19, in the Sangamon Auditorium at University of Illinois Springfield. Seventy-two physicians and one graduate student will receive degrees.
 
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) will deliver the keynote address. Durbin previously spoke at the 1995 commencement as a congressman, when he represented the 20th Congressional District in the US House of Representatives. He also was a volunteer professor of medical humanities at SIU School of Medicine from 1986-97. Following the keynote address, numerous honors will be presented.
 
Paul Checchia, MD, class of 1993, will receive the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes alumni for their outstanding contributions to medicine and distinguished service to humankind. Checchia is professor of pediatric critical care medicine and pediatric cardiology at Baylor College of Medicine and medical director of the Pediatric Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at Texas Children's Hospital.
 
Janet Albers, MD, professor and chair of SIU Department of Family and Community Medicine, will receive the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching. A faculty member and a student will receive the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award.
 
The new SIU physicians will begin residency training in their chosen specialty fields in July.
 
SIU Medicine’s mission is to assist the people of central and southern Illinois in meeting their health care needs through education, patient care, research and service to the community. Established in 1970, the medical school is based in Carbondale and Springfield and is specifically oriented to educating new physicians prepared to practice in Illinois communities. Since 1975, 2,820 physicians, plus the 2018 graduates, have earned SIU medical degrees.
 
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Note to media: To arrange coverage of the event or schedule interviews, contact Steve Sandstrom, 217-545-5616. To secure an interview with Sen. Durbin the day of commencement, please arrive by 11:15 a.m. and contact Sandstrom’s mobile, 217-741-3240.