144 New Physicians - UCSD School of Medicine Commencement Ceremony

Doctor of Medicine degrees were awarded to 79 men and 65 women at the School of Medicine's 32nd annual commencement ceremony on Sunday, June 8 on the School of Medicine campus in La Jolla. Ten of the graduates earned both an M.D. and a Ph.D. in the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). This is one of the largest groups of MSTP students to graduate at the same time. Six of the graduates have also earned a Masters in Public Health.

The range of specialties chosen by graduates is broad with medicine, radiology, pediatrics, family medicine, emergency medicine, and anesthesia, respectively, being the top choices.

Among the graduates were 13 newlyweds and six new parents. UCSD School of Medicine faculty and staff, family members and friends of the graduates attended.

As part of the conferring of degrees, each graduate was "hooded" by the UCSD School of Medicine faculty member who served as his or her independent study chair. Edward W. Holmes, vice chancellor for health sciences and dean of School of Medicine, and UCSD Chancellor Robert C. Dynes, handed the graduates their diplomas.


L. to R.: Regent Peter Preuss, Chancellor Robert C.  Dynes, Dr. Sydney Brenner, Regent John Davies and Vice Chancellor Edward Holmes.

Sydney Brenner, recipient of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, delivered a commencement address entitled "The Worst Medical Student of 1950: A Personal Memoir," at the ceremony.  

Brenner, a distinguished professor at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries concerning genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death. One of the past century's leading pioneers in genetics and molecular biology, Brenner established the existence of messenger RNA and demonstrated how the order of amino acids in proteins is determined. He also conducted pioneering work with the roundworm, a model organism now widely used to study genetics.

During the ceremony, the Kaiser Permanente Awards for Excellence in Teaching were presented to School of Medicine faculty who excel in their work as preclinical or clinical instructors. The awards are made possible by a 1974 grant to the University from the Kaiser Foundation Hospitals "to express the high regard held by the physicians and administrators of the Kaiser-Permanente Medical Care Program for the UCSD School of Medicine."

This year's Kaiser Permanente Awards for Excellence in Teaching, selected by each class of medical students, are R.to L:  Nora Laiken, Ph.D., Lawrence Hansen, M.D., Bruce Potenza, M.D., and Omar Abdeen, M.D.. Michael Takamura, M.D., was recognized as an outstanding member of the housestaff (house officer Rahul Jandial, M.D., also was honored but was not in attendance).

The 2003 winners, selected by each class of medical students, were: Nora Laikin, Ph.D., Lecurer in the Department of Medicine and Assistant Dean for Curriculum and Student Affairs, selected by the first year class; Lawrence Hansen, M.D., Professor of Pathology and the Neurosciences in the Department of Neurosciences, selected by the second year class; Bruce Potenza, M.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery, selected by the third year class; and Omar Abdeen, M.D., formerly with the Department of Medicine, selected by the graduating class. In addition, honors for outstanding members of the housestaff, recognizing individuals who have distinguished themselves in the teaching of third and fourth year medical students, were given to Rahul Jandial, M.D., Department of Surgery, and Michael Takamura, M.D., Department of Psychiatry.

Congratulations Class of 2003!

News Media Contact:
Leslie Franz