The 2018 Divisional Academic Ceremony

On May 25, 2018, the 97 medical students from the Class of 2018 processed down the aisle in Rockefeller Chapel and received their academic hoods in front of faculty, family, and friends. While they will formally earn their diplomas on June 9, the graduating students spent the better part of a beautiful (and warm!) May morning participating in the Divisional Academic Ceremony (DAC) and celebrating with an outdoor luncheon.

Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD, Executive Vice President of the University for Biology and Medicine, President of the University of Chicago Health System, and interim Dean of the Division of the Biological Sciences and the Pritzker School of Medicine, welcomed all students and their families by speaking about the recent advancements in the practice of medicine and new opportunities on campus with the opening of the new Emergency Department and Trauma Center.

Donald Hopkins, MD'66, MPH
Donald R. Hopkins, MD'66, MPH

The keynote speech was given by Donald R. Hopkins, MD’66, MPH, the Special Advisor for Guinea Worm Eradication for the Carter Center and a MacArthur Fellow. Dr. Hopkins served as the Deputy Director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and led an international campaign to eradicate Guinea worm disease.  Dr. Hopkins started by noting that it had been 52 years since his own graduation from Pritzker, and had someone told him then that he would lead two disease eradication programs and lead the CDC, he would have been shocked. He spoke of his experiences working with a vast amount of volunteers, health employees, and scientific colleagues, noting that it medicine is truly a team-based career. “Work hard, learn from your mistakes, and get over your disappointments to do what you want to do,” he told those gathered at Rockefeller Chapel.

The Class of 2018 will be practicing 17 specialties of medicine in 25 states. Best wishes to them as their future unfolds!