Dear Colleagues-Friends,

Late last week our class of 2017 celebrated their successful training and on Saturday, 204 of these outstanding junior colleagues became doctors!

On Friday morning, we honored our military colleagues who in addition to becoming doctors, also received a promotion in rank. Dr. Chris Woleben gave excellent remarks on behalf of our school. Dr. Walter Lawrence was the keynote speaker and he reminded us that while much has changed over the 70 years since he graduated, the sanctity of the doctor-patient relationship has not changed.

Drs. Susan DiGiovanni, Chris Woleben and the entire student affairs office then outdid themselves in hosting an outstanding hooding ceremony on Friday afternoon. Traditions were intermingled with reflections on the accomplishments of the class of 2017. There was a moving recollection of Mr. Mohamed Ibrahim, a student who tragically passed away in the first few weeks of the class of 2017. Dr. Jerry Strauss gave an excellent keynote address, highlighting how we continue to grow and develop as physicians throughout our careers.

On Saturday morning, the class of 2017 reassembled with those from the other VCU schools for the conferring of degrees and honors recognition. Honorary degrees were conferred to Mr. Bill and Mrs. Pam Royall, whose selfless giving to society and to VCU has been remarkable. Our graduates were well wished onto their next stage by Senator Tim Kaine, whose commencement speech echoed that of our faculty mentors to our students over the four years of their training: be great listeners.

All in all, it was a joyous time of reflection, of tradition and legacy, and of celebrating the great work of each and every one of you in turning out physicians who we can be proud of. To view the SOM 2017 convocation and hooding ceremony, you can watch it here:

Congratulations and thank you for your leadership and support in training the class of 2017 to now be today’s and tomorrow’s best doctors.

With best wishes,

Peter F. Buckley, M.D.
Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System