May 21, 2024

Heersink School of Medicine hosts 2024 Commencement ceremony

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commencement 2024 1On May 18, 2024, UAB Heersink School of Medicine hosted its 2024 Commencement ceremony at Bartow Arena in Birmingham, Alabama, to celebrate its 169 graduating medical students. Following the procession of Heersink leadership and faculty, graduates filed into the arena grouped by Learning Community.

Anupam Agarwal, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medicine and Dean for the UAB Heersink School of Medicine, opened the ceremony with the announcement that 25 percent of this year’s graduating class will remain in the state of Alabama for their residencies. He also spoke to the challenges this specific graduating class overcame in its four years. “There is something significant about the members of this particular class,” Agarwal said. “In 2020, when most of you began medical school, the world looked very different. You were not even able to be in the same room together until your second year. Everything that was thrown at you was no match for the grit, determination, and drive you had to learn, train, and become physicians.”

Marnix E. Heersink, M.D., was also recognized for the transformational gift to the school of medicine by Dr. Heersink and his wife, Mary. Among other things, the gift it established the Marnix E. Heersink Institute for Biomedical Innovation and the Mary Heersink Institute for Global Health. It also provides support for key initiatives within the school of medicine.

commencement 2024 3Jillian Tinglin, 2024 Class President, then addressed her fellow graduates. “Residency is uncharted territory for us, but as our start dates approach, I want us all to remember how nimbly we acclimated to each of our new environments since the start of medical school and that you are all ready,” Tinglin said. “I am incredibly proud of the people and doctors we have become, and it has been an honor to serve as your class president.” Tinglin will complete her residency at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City, New York, specializing in Obstetrics/Gynecology.

The keynote speaker was Bryan Stevenson, the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a human rights organization in Montgomery, Alabama. He is a graduate of the Harvard Law School and the Harvard School of Government. Stevenson shared five key pieces of information for the graduates to remember as they continue their journey as physicians. “I hope you’ll create an identity that goes with your title that is rooted in compassion, rooted in dedication, rooted in listening, rooted in caring,” he said. “And when you create that kind of identity, I want you to understand you have power to do healing that you will not be able to do without that.”

Graduates who received departmental awards were recognized by Craig Hoesley, M.D., Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education. These recipients were announced at award celebrations on their respective campuses earlier in the week. Hoesley then announced the recipients of the school awards. The Hugh J. Dempsey Memorial Award, awarded to the student with the highest overall cumulative academic achievement, was presented to Katherine Buchanan. The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation and given to one student and faculty member who demonstrates outstanding compassion in delivering care to patients and their families, was presented to student Matthew Moore and faculty member Nicholas Van Wagoner, M.D., Ph.D.

commencement 2024 2Medical Alumni Association Leadership & Community Service Award was announced and presented by P. Michael Caruso, M.D., President of the University of Alabama Medical Alumni Association. This award, given to a student who demonstrates leadership in addressing educational, societal, and healthcare needs, was presented to Jillian Tinglin.

Each graduate was called to the stage by Learning Community to receive their academic hoods. The ceremony was concluded with the reading of the Hippocratic Oath and the ceremonial moving of the tassel from right to left.

Learn more about making a gift to the UAB Heersink School of Medicine.