Commencement 2021

Taking the field for 2021 Commencement

Published Date:

On a sunny Saturday afternoon in May, seventy physicians and three graduate students from SIU School of Medicine received their diplomas at the school’s 47th annual commencement. The ceremony was held May 22 at Cyclone Stadium on the Sacred Heart-Griffin campus in Springfield. The outdoor location followed COVID protocols and could accommodate family and friends.

SIU School of Medicine Dean and Provost Jerry Kruse, MD, MSPH, awarded diplomas to the medical students, and SIU System President Daniel Mahony, PhD, conferred the degrees.

Alumni, faculty members and a graduating student received awards during the ceremony.

Nancy Henry, DVM, an instructor in anatomy in Carbondale, received the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching. Stacy Sattovia, MD, an associate professor in internal medicine, and Class of 2021 graduate Alexander Worix, MD, received the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Awards, presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

Four alumni were honored: Ron Romanelli, MD (’83), 2021 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award; Constance Shabazz, MD (’86), 2021 Distinguished Alumni Service Award; Andrew Miller, MD, (’05); Early Career Achievement Award; and Erik Constance, MD (’88), 2020 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.

Class of 2021 President Rukmini Roy, MD, spoke on behalf of her classmates.

In his commencement address, Dean Kruse praised SIU’s newest physicians for their strength and tenacity, learning medical care during “the reign of COVID-19.”

“Through it, you have been collaborators, innovators and helpers…” he said. “This crisis has brought out the best in you and our colleagues. We, and you, have emerged more resilient, more creative, much wiser and kinder.”

He also emphasized the importance of reaching out to better understand patients, neighbors and others within the communities in which the graduates will serve. Leaving one’s “silo” improves communication, empathy and the delivery of care, he said.

“You will now take the next step in your life. As you do, I ask each of you to escape your usual zone of comfort, and make an effort to have regular contact, professional and personal, with others who are outside that comfort zone. Experience the context of their lives.”

“We are proud of you. Stay in contact, always!”

View full 2021 Commencement gallery at

More from SIU News

Ashley-Ann Walker

Ashley-Ann Walker named a 2024 SIU Distinguished Student

The SIU System Board of Trustees and its Student Advisory Committee recently honored some outstanding students from across its campuses with the 2024 SIU System Distinguished Student Service Award.
Morgan Suhre at luncheon

Medical school community displays creativity in 2024 Scope

SIU School of Medicine unveiled the 2024 edition of SCOPE at an awards reception April 12. The student-produced literary magazine contains short stories, poems and artwork from learners, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the school.

Mental health first aid training

Empowering individuals to be a part of the solution Recently the Behavioral Health Workforce Center (BHWC) began offering Mental Health First Aid training to employees as part of its mission to bring