Reunion Weekend 2023
The MCV Campus welcomed back hundreds of alumni from classes ending in ’3 and ’8
May 18, 2023
The friendships and camaraderie that classmates form during medical school last well beyond those first four years together.
For John O’Bannon, M’73, H’77, F’78, they’ve lasted a lifetime.
“Medical school is very different from college or any other professional association,” says the retired neurologist. “Going through the ups and downs of those four years together is one of the things that seals that bond.”
In April, O’Bannon and hundreds of alumni from classes ending in ’3 and ’8 came together for MCV Campus Reunion Weekend. During three days of activities, they connected with classmates, faculty and students at the place where they became physicians.
O’Bannon’s Class of 1973 had one more reason to mark the occasion – celebrating the 50th anniversary of their graduation.
“Surviving 50 years is worth celebrating,” says O’Bannon, who enjoyed pouring through old yearbooks at his class party and seeing friends from across all VCU’s health sciences schools at the Golden Alumni Brunch.
Surgical oncologist David Lee, M’08, says a tour of the Center for Human Simulation and Patient Safety, housed in McGlothlin Medical Education Center, stands out as a highlight of the weekend. His wife and three children joined him for the tour and even had an opportunity to participate in the hands-on activities.
“It was really special for my family to see how medicine is taught today and to understand more of what I do and where I learned to be a doctor,” Lee says. “My kids loved it and asked so many questions. If my 10-year-old daughter ever goes into medicine, we’ll know why she did it!”
‘MCV helped launch my career’
Helen Kim, MS’98 (ANAT), M’03, H’04, and husband John Hayashi traveled from California for the weekend. The couple maintains strong ties to the medical school, having established its Helen J. Kim, M.D., and John Hayashi Medical Student Wellness Education Fund in 2018.
“Promoting student wellness is a passion of mine,” says Kim, an anesthesiologist and interventional pain physician. At Reunion’s Mini-Med School program, she was pleased to hear how the School of Medicine has incorporated wellness and diversity, equity and inclusion into its curriculum.
Dean Arturo P. Saavedra, M.D., Ph.D., MBA, assumed his new role the week prior to Reunion Weekend, and reveled in the festivities, meeting alumni at a host of events including the Dean’s reception and class parties. “Witnessing the strong connection and support so many alumni have for our school was both inspiring and energizing,” he shared after the event.
Reunion-year alumni who make gifts and pledges to the School of Medicine through June 30 are counted toward their class giving totals. To date, more than 200 generous gifts have resulted in nearly $1.2 million supporting scholarships and other needs in the medical school. There’s still time for Reunion-year alumni to add to those totals.
Lee says the weekend reminded him where he got his start. “MCV helped launch my career. It was just a wonderful experience to reconnect with old friends, see how campus has changed and evolved, and see the level of education that’s being given and the level of care that has been elevated.”