McGovern students complete medical school journey

By Roman Petrowski, Office of Communications

Commencement 2020

McGovern Medical School presented 250 graduating fourth-year students with their medical degrees as part of a virtual 2020 Commencement celebration on May 1 via YouTube. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the presentation moved online.

Dean Barbara J. Stoll, MD, addressed graduates to open the ceremony. “Although we wish we could participate in the festivities together, nothing can take away from the significance of this milestone, and the joy of this moment. This is an amazing day, not only for you, our graduates, but also for the family and friends who supported you all along the way.”

The graduating class of 2020 included 45 members of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, the only national honor society, and 37 were members of The Arnold P. Gold Foundation’s Gold Humanism Honor Society.

A trio of graduating students received top honors from McGovern Medical School. Anish Patnaik earned the Walter G. Sterling Award for Excellence; Christle Kamtochukwu Nwora won the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, The Truman G. Blocker Jr. MD, Gold-Headed Cane Award; and Yesul Tina Kim earned the Hitoshi C. Nikaidoh, MD, Award for Humanism in Medicine.

While the graduating class of 2020 celebrated with their friends and family by gathering around computer screens instead of a packed convention center, they heard from Stoll; Priscilla J. Alfaro, MD, ’89, president of the McGovern Medical School Alumni Association; and Giuseppe Colasurdo, MD, president of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, who granted degrees to the graduating class.

“I would like to thank each of you for trusting this great university, and this great Medical School with your education,” Colasurdo said. “I know you will make us so proud. Congratulations.”

Following the conferring of the degrees, Stoll led the students in a virtual recitation of the Hippocratic Oath, before Eugene Toy, MD, assistant dean of Educational Programs, shared his thoughts as the student marshal.

“It has been such a privilege, my distinct honor, to be working with you and teaching you this whole time,” Toy said. “I am so proud of each and every one of you for what you’ve been able to achieve. We can’t really shake hands today. We can’t even really hug because of social distancing, but I just want to tell you from my heart, I’m so proud of you, and congratulations, because today we are colleagues.”

Students then participated in a virtual “walk” of the stage, as they watched their names scroll through the video, with friends and family cheering in the comments section. The afternoon concluded with closing remarks from Stoll and the playing of The Eyes of Texas.

“Today marks a milestone you’ll never forget,” Stoll said. “Today you become a part of the history of this great medical school as a member of our 47th graduating class. You are our legacy and our future. I’m extremely proud of each of you for what you’ve accomplished, and what you will achieve over the coming years.”

The 2020 McGovern Medical School commencement video can be viewed on YouTube.