The doctors, dentists and graduate students making up the UConn Health Classes of 2014 were urged to find their passion and begin their journey at the UConn Health commencement ceremony Monday in Storrs.
“Don’t be afraid of challenges, because you never know what doors those challenges are going to open for you,” said Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News chief medical editor, pediatrician and author, in his commencement address. “In so many ways we develop and define our own future by the choices that we make. And if you can find your passion and follow your dreams, you’re going to be happy, no matter how medicine evolves, and you’re going to make the world a better place.”
UConn Health commencement exercises included the conferring of degrees upon 88 graduates from the UConn School of Medicine and 46 from the UConn School of Dental Medicine, along with 45 master’s degree candidates and 27 biomedical science Ph.D. candidates.
The master’s degree recipients include 27 Master of Public Health candidates, 15 Master of Dental Science candidates, two Master of Science, Clinical and Translational Research candidates, and one Master of Science, Biomedical Science candidate.
Nine medical students earned dual degrees, including eight MD/MPH and one MD/Ph.D., and two dental students graduated with a DMD/Ph.D.
All the members of the UConn School of Dental Medicine Class of 2014 were matched into residency or graduate programs. There is roughly one dental residency position for every 2.5 dental graduates in the U.S. each year, making completion for residency slots very competitive.
“This reflects on the reputation and power of our school’s curriculum and emphasis on science and service,” says Dr. R. Lamont MacNeil, dean of the UConn School of Dental Medicine.
Ninety-eight percent of the UConn School of Medicine Class of 2014 class secured residencies through the National Residency Match Program, with 84 percent of the medical graduates matching to their top-ranked program. Forty percent will remain in Connecticut for their residency training.
“UConn medical graduates are heading to prestigious residencies at institutions including Mass General, Beth Israel Deaconess, Johns Hopkins, UCLA, University of California-San Francisco, and a record three at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia,” says Dr. Frank Torti, medical school dean and UConn Health executive vice president for health affairs. “Simply put, this is a brilliant class.”
The medical graduates logged more than 9,100 community service hours over their four years at UConn.
“You’re gifted and talented, and our communities throughout Connecticut, the country, and indeed the world, look forward to you taking your rightful place of leadership in the health sciences and related fields, in healing, in health and wellness, in research, and in teaching,” said Sanford Cloud, chair of the UConn Health Board of Directors, in his congratulatory remarks.
The ceremony also included presentation of an honorary doctorate of fine arts to James M. Nederlander, chairman of the Nederlander Producing Company of America Inc.
The other honorary degree, a doctorate of science, went to Besser prior to his delivery of the commencement address in UConn’s Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts.