Dear colleagues,

Last week, we graduated our Class of 2022 M.D., Ph.D., M.D.-Ph.D., master’s and certificate students. After two years without full in-person ceremonies, it was so nice to be able to congratulate and celebrate with our graduates face-to-face as they begin the next phase of their educational and career journeys. (Photos and recordings of both the M.D. Hooding and Advanced Degree Recognition Ceremony can be found on our School of Medicine website.)

All of our graduates have faced challenges throughout their training – from restructured clinical rotations, virtual classroom experiences and lab closures to social unrest born out of systemic injustices and racism. In the face of adversity, they exhibited resilience and unity, characteristics that will serve them well as they face future “storms and setbacks,” to quote our hooding speaker and alumnus Eric B. Freeman, M.D.

“Everything that you will confront in the next chapter of your life is either a blessing or a lesson,” Dr. Freeman told our M.D. graduates. “Accept the blessings as joyous gifts to you and your prosperity, yet embrace the hard lessons in your life as necessary … preparation for the destiny that lies ahead for you.”

At the university ceremony on Saturday, we watched proudly as our Ph.D. graduates were recognized and as alumni Michele A. Romano, M.D., and Donald J. Romano, M.H.A., were awarded the Edward A. Wayne Medal. This award honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions or provided exemplary services to VCU. The Romanos are longtime volunteers at VCU and lifetime members of the MCV Alumni Association, and they have generously supported the School of Medicine among their contributions to VCU. We were very pleased that they received this honor.

We remain grateful to all our faculty and staff who have provided direction, support and encouragement to our students through the ups and downs of their training. We hope that the lessons they learned during their time here will serve them as they go off to tackle our communities’ biggest problems.

We offer our heartfelt congratulations to our newest alumni and look forward to sharing their career successes and the impact they have on their fields.

With gratitude,

David P. Chelmow, M.D. - Interim Dean, VCU School of Medicine; Interim Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health