“… I’m consistently in awe of the people in this class. You are all intelligent, driven and compassionate people. Over 4,500 people applied to be in your exact seat, and by providence and merit 188 of us were chosen to take this journey together. …”

“The lessons we’ve learned and the memories we’ve shared cannot be replaced – and I know will never be taken for granted. I still remember the first day of medical school and the conversations we were having. So many of us were in disbelief and couldn’t believe that we’d finally gotten into medical school. Many of us were trying to figure out our medical identity. Some of us knew that we would be infectious disease doctors until we did surgery and found out our true calling. …”

“It’s actually ironic that we are all so nervous about finally being a doctor … I know we all feel the same strange feeling because it is all still so surreal. …”

“I do know this though … on the first night you get that page and the voice on the other line says, ‘Doctor, what do you want to do?’ Take a second, relax and remember that you graduated in the tradition of the Medical College of Virginia. I want each of you to always remember that and remember what that means: You are from a tradition of clinicians and academicians who believe in patients. Who believe in giving back and doing what is needed for those who cannot or will not do it for themselves.”

“We were groomed to be doctors who will always understand that legacy. And it is my hope that we will now take that with us wherever we might go. …”

Excerpt from May 16, 2008, Convocation speech by Bella Gabice, M.D., Class of 2008.