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SIU School of Medicine grants degrees to Class of ‘21

May 22, 2021

Seventy-two physicians and three graduate students at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine received their diplomas Saturday, May 22, at the school’s 47th annual commencement. The ceremony was held at Ken Leonard Field on the Sacred Heart-Griffin campus in Springfield.

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

During the ceremony, Class of 2021 Chair Rukmini Roy, MD, of Bloomington, delivered remarks on behalf of the graduates. Dean Kruse shared his perspective in a commencement address. He praised the students for their strength and resiliency, learning medical care during a pandemic. He encouraged them to stretch beyond their comfort zones in the years ahead. "Meet others in the places where they live, and when in doubt, assume the best,” he said.

Faculty members, a graduating student and alumni were given special recognition during the event. Nancy Henry, DVM, an instructor in anatomy in Carbondale, received the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching. Class of 2021 graduate Alexander Worix, MD, and Stacy Sattovia, MD, an associate professor in internal medicine, 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.

The new SIU physicians will begin residency training in their chosen specialties in July.

SIU Medicine’s mission is to optimize the health of the people of central and southern Illinois through education, patient care, research and service to the community. Established in 1970, the medical school is based dually in Carbondale and Springfield and is specifically oriented to educating new physicians prepared to practice in Illinois communities. Since 1975, 3,094 physicians have earned SIU medical degrees.

View graduate portraits, video and photos from the event.