Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry parties centennial style at its convocation

Graduates give their new dean a standing ovation

FoMD Staff - 7 June 2013

There were hoots. There were hollers. And there were tides of lively applause at the Jubilee Auditorium on Friday, June 7, when students graduated from the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry.

The annual convocation was far from ordinary as Alberta's first medical school marked its 100th anniversary.

The ceremony included a few emotional moments, such as the oaths taken by the medical and dentistry graduates in front of their friends and families. President Indira V. Samarasekera then encouraged the graduates to thank their friends and family for supporting them throughout the pursuit of their educations and welcomed them to the U of A family. The audience also appreciated the sentiment behind the impromptu hug, rather than the traditional handshake, that graduating medical student Christopher Le gave the dean as he pulled out his smartphone and snapped a candid photo of himself and the dean on stage.

All programs within the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry convocated together - approximately 400 graduates crossed the stage including PhD and master's recipients, medical doctors, dentists, dental hygienists and medical laboratory scientists.

For the first time in faculty members' recollection, graduates gave their dean a rousing standing ovation following his commencement speech when he remembered his first night as the only medical resident on call. D. Douglas Miller, received a hearty chuckle from the capacity crowd of more than 2,500 when he passed the symbolic baton to the new medical residents with the words "Tag, you're it!"

The University of Alberta awarded Dr. Lincoln C. Chen with an honorary Doctor of Science. Chen is a former vice-president of the Rockefeller Foundation and president of the China Medical Board. He is a doctor, academic and policy advisor who has dedicated his skills to transforming international health and development. In his acceptance speech, Chen advised the students convocating at today's ceremony to "work hard at something worth doing."

The Faculty marked convocation with four days of festivities at various lunches, breakfasts and dinners, culminating the evening of Saturday, June 8 with the MD graduation banquet at the Edmonton EXPO Centre. "Dr. Miller is the man!" said MC and graduating medical student James Van Camp in the midst of the rousing applause following the dean's speech, setting a tone for the evening.

Since the medical school was founded in 1913, more than 7,000 physicians have graduated from Alberta's founding medical school.