Phone Line Dropped Calls

SIU Medicine's primary phone line, 217-545-8000, is experiencing intermittent dropped calls. We apologize for this inconvenience and are working to correct this issue as soon as possible.


SIU Medicine Holds 44th Commencement

Published Date:
Seventy-two physicians and one graduate student at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine received their diplomas on Saturday, May 19, in the Sangamon Auditorium at University of Illinois Springfield during the school’s 44th commencement.
This year’s commencement speaker was U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL). Durbin previously spoke at the 1995 commencement as a congressman, when he represented the 20th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He also was a volunteer professor of medical humanities at SIU School of Medicine from 1986-97. His remarks touched upon America’s need for affordable health care and prescription medicine, the challenges physicians face to curb the nation’s opioid epidemic and the critical importance of scientific research funding, which has led to discoveries like the mapping of the human genome.
Durbin commended SIU’s leaders and physicians for confronting medical challenges within its 66-county region and extending its expertise to those in need. “As part of its mission as a safety net medical school, SIU is the premier institution in Illinois when it comes to fulfilling the social mission and accountability of medical education, responsible for providing care to 2.2 million people in our state,” Durbin said. “SIU is the heart and soul of health care in central and southern Illinois. I’m grateful to have the medical institution in my hometown, because SIU School of Medicine is a school with a conscience.”
During the ceremony, Class of 2018 Chair Jordan Markel, MD, of Bunker Hill delivered remarks on behalf of the graduates. Dean and Provost Jerry Kruse, MD, MSPH, awarded diplomas to the medical students, and Vice Chancellor Meera Komarraju conferred the degrees.
Several students and faculty members received awards. Janet Albers, MD, ’87, professor and chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine, received the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching. Paul Checchia, MD, ’93, received the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes alumni for their outstanding contributions to medicine and distinguished service to humankind. Vidyha Prakash, MD, associate professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases, and Class of 2018 graduate Travis Wieland, MD, received the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Awards, presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.
The new SIU physicians will begin residency training in their chosen specialties 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.
View the 2018 commencement at or see pictures from the event at
Graduate portraits can be viewed at
Medical Student Graduates:
Pascal Accoh is the son of Ellaye Accoh and Angeline Accoh, both of Chicago.
Daniel Ansbro, son of James and Sanghee Kim-Ansbro of Edwardsville.
Dominic Antonacci is the son of Jeff and Angela Antonacci of Springfield.
Alexandra Barger is the daughter of David and Kelly Berger of Murphysboro.
Siân Best is the daughter of Mary and James Best of Champaign.
Alex Blunier is the son of Dan and Dawn Blunier of East Peoria.
Kody Bolk is the son of Tim and Carrie Bolk of Carlyle.
Matt Brewer is the son of Mike and Cheryl Brewer of DeLand.
Jennifer Brown is the daughter of Pamela and David Brown of Bethalto.
Erick Butt is the son of David and Deborah Butt of Springfield.
Brian Cacioppo is the son of Christopher and Hong Cacioppo of Collinsville.
Jase Camp is the son of Mike and Cheryl Camp of Lincoln.
Atif Cheema is the son Khalid and Durri Javed of Herrin.
Brandon Churchill is the son of Gregory and Deborah Churchill of O’Fallon.
Max Crouse is the son of Mike and Dana Crouse of Carbondale.
Jason Cullen is the son of Jack and Pam Cullen of Normal.
Stephanie Dalla Riva is the daughter of Therese Dalla Riva of Edwardsville.
Emily Drone is the daughter of Patrick and Lisa Drone of West Frankfort.
Laura Endris is the daughter of John and Theresa Endris of Springfield.
Molly Etling is the daughter of Jim and Pat Etling of Freeburg.
Matt Faller is the son of Greg and Carla Faller of Belleville.
Yuri Fedorovich is the son of Irene Fedorovich of Marion.
Allen Ghareeb is the son of George and Diana Ghareeb of Dunlap.
Dakota Gilbert is the son of Steve and Becky Gilbert of Pocahontas.
Brian Ginn is the son of Dr. Dwight and Denise Ginn of Bourbonnais.
Christina Goehl is the daughter of Phillip and Karen Goehl of Quincy.
Megan Goldstein is the daughter of James and Susan Goldstein of Mattoon.
Rae Gumayan is the daughter of Marian Gumayan of Peoria and the late Cesar Gumayan.
Kacey Hamilton is the daughter of Jim and Angie Hamilton of Paris, Illinois.
Christa Harlin is the daughter of Ken and Cardillia Harlin of Bolingbrook.
Theodore Harper III is the son of Theodore Harper Jr. and Carolyn Harper of Fayetteville, Georgia.
Jill Haxel is the daughter of Martin and Laurie Haxel of Springfield.
Mitchell Heuermann is the son of Louis and Darla Heuermann of Peoria.
Grace Hile is the spouse of Paul Hile and daughter of Bill and Ann Osborne of Moline.
Thomas Hu is the son of Michael and D’Ann Hu of Homer Glen.
Jacob Hutton is the son of Brian Hutton of Orion and Sue Hutton of Sherrard.
Angela Jin is the daughter of Jianming Jin and Yanging Bao of Champaign.
Nida Khan Feller is the spouse of Nicholas Feller and the daughter of Dr. Muhammad and Deeba Khan of Forsyth.
Scott Kilian is the son of Jeff and Susan Kilian of Belleville.
Matthew Kresca is the son of Jim and Karen Kresca of Champaign.
Mollie Laramore is the daughter of Jeffrey and Victoria Laramore of Chester.
Nick Lukert is the son of Dan and Sharon Lukert of Bloomington.
Caleb Lusk is the son of Louie and Doris Lusk of Flora. 
Jordan Markel is the son of Paul and Shelle Markel of Bunker Hill.
Laney Martin is the daughter of Jeff Martin and Theresa Campbell, both of Paris, Ill.
Madison Marvel is the daughter of Mike and Dena Marvel of Carbondale. 
Kyley Maxheimer is the daughter of John and Erin Wyss of Mt. Pulaski and TJ and Holly Surprenant of Washington.
Jade Norris is the spouse of Carlos Norris and the daughter of Allen and Marsha Smith of Las Vegas.
Karissa Nulty is the daughter of Greg and Christina Nulty of Washington.
Blake O’Connor is the son of Don and Melinda O’Connor of Springfield.
Emily Palomaki is the daughter of Jon and Mary Palomaki of East Moline.
Nick Petre is the son of James and Anne Petre of Moline.
Dominic Phemister is the spouse of Samantha Phemister of Mt. Vernon.
John Philibert is the son of John and Lisa Philibert of Rock Island.
Suhayb Ranjha is the son of Shafqat and Rakhshindah Suhaub of Pakistan.
Zachary Reed is the son of Scott and Rebecca Reed of Peoria.
Ian Ridge is the son of Bryan and Diane Ridge of Flora.
Michael Romanelli is the spouse of Angelia Romanelli and the son of Ron and Therese Romanelli of Springfield.
Gordon Ruan is the son of Zhong-Jin and Lian Ruan of Champaign.
Faraaz Salik is the son of Syed and Nasreen Salik of Forsyth.
Alexis Scott is the daughter of James and Jane Scott of Mapleton.
Tasha Sparks Joplin is the daughter of Rebecca and Jerry Sparks of Newton.
Joseph Standard is the son of John and Grace Standard of Springfield.
Andrianna Stephens is the daughter of Clifford Watson of Maple Heights, Ohio, and Tara Lee of Cleveland.
Christine Sulmers is the daughter of Maria Febrier of New York and the late Dalton Sulmers.
Taylor Tabatabai is the son of Fareed and Cara Tabatabai of Rochester.
Veronica Thorton is the spouse of Williebe Thorton and the daughter of Mary Whittington of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and the late Lionel Whittington.
Elias Trace of Jacksonville is the spouse of Sherie Trace and the son of Peter and Konnie Trace of Roodhouse.
Christopher Trammell is the son of George and Sue Trammell of Marion.
Zachary Urick is the spouse of Jennifer Urick and the son of Stephen and Tracey Urick of Belleville.
Hayden Warner is the son of Ron and Kim Warner of Neoga.
Travis Wieland is the son of Robert and Nancy Wieland of Laura.
Graduate Student Graduate:
Prezley Duncan is the daughter of Becki Duncan of Springfield. She received a master of science degree in medical microbiology, immunology and cell biology.
To view more photos of commencement, view the gallery on Zenfolio.

More from SIU News

IAPA conference table

IAPA conference highlights SIU physician assistants achievements

The Illinois Academy of Physician Assistants (IAPA) hosted its Fall CME conference in Rosemont in October, its first since 2019. The group welcomed Physician Assistants, providing a platform for networking, honing skills and expertise in patient care and fostering a spirit of camaraderie.
Harbinger bust

Distinguished Alumni 2024

A trio of SIU School of Medicine alumni are being honored for their distinguished service and career accomplishments. They will be recognized at the 2024 Commencement Ceremony in May.
Dawn Defraites & Stcy Grundy

Kenniebrew, McNeese awards celebrate champions of equity, inclusion

During the 2024 Alonzo Kenniebrew Lecture on February 8, Dr. Wendi El-Amin presented awards to honor individuals and a group who continue the challenging work Dr. Kenniebrew modeled, promoting inclusive excellence and equitable practices.