"It is a privilege to be a
doctor. You wake up every morning and you go to work
and total strangers share the most private thoughts with you. For some, you are able to heal. For some, you will relieve their suffering and for others, you will hold their hands as they depart this world."
- Dr. Benjamin P. Sachs, 2014 Commencement Speaker
Seventy-seven smiling students were honored at this year’s commencement ceremony: 65 received medical degrees, six received master’s degrees and six received doctorate degrees.
Dr. Benjamin P. Sachs was the commencement speaker for the 40th graduating class of the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine on Saturday, May 17. Dr. Sachs is a senior lecturer at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
Previously, Dr. Sachs served as dean and senior vice president of Tulane School of Medicine (2007-13), where he was instrumental in the rebuilding of both Tulane and New Orlean’s health care system after hurricane Katrina. Following his achievement, Tulane’s medical school received the Spencer Foreman Award, one of the highest honors bestowed by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Also during his tenure at Tulane, the School led a revolution in access and quality of care in the region.
During the ceremony, Richard Austin, Jr., MD, class chair from Springfield, delivered remarks on behalf of the graduates: “For us, med school has to end, but our relationships are still just beginning....With you all, the world is getting a little better, and I am so happy to have gone through this with you. There has never been or will never be a better class to have been a part of.”
John Mellinger, MD, professor and chair of the division of general surgery and the J. Roland Folse, M.D., Endowed Chair of surgery, read the Hippocratic Oath. Tracy Lower, MD, professor of pediatrics, hooded the graduates.
J. Kevin Dorsey, MD, PhD, dean and provost, awarded diplomas to the medical students. SIUC Chancellor Rita H. Cheng conferred the degrees.
"For us, med school has to end, but our relationships are still just beginning...With you all, the world is getting a little better."
- Dr. Rik Austin, 2014 class chair
Awards & Honors
The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Awards were awarded to Jarrod Wall, MB, PhD, assistant professor of surgery and
Daniel Sadowski, MD. These honors are given to one faculty member and one graduating senior who demonstrate compassion and respect for patients and families as well as clinical excellence. The award is sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.
Dr. Wall also received the Golden Apple Award. This honor is given to a faculty member chosen by the graduating class for excellence in teaching.
Ron Browning, PhD, professor of physiology and pharmacology, was given the honor of Carbondale Teacher of the Year.
The Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Edward Paul, MD, director of medical education at Yuma Regional Medical Center in Yuma, Ariz., and Class of 1981. (Read related story.)