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Annual Student Awards Ceremony Recognizes Top Graduates

May 18, 2016

Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, James B. Kaper, PhD, Grace Koo, Student Teaching Fellow, Carolyn J. Pass, MD and Richard M. Susel, MD.

The events leading up to Graduation 2016 kicked off in a special way the evening of May 18 with the 10th Annual Student Awards Ceremony and Dinner. Held at the Southern Management Corporation Campus Center, the awards dinner provided an opportunity to recognize the accomplished graduating students who have received scholarships, awards, and other academic prizes. This event also recognized the donors whose generous contributions support these awards.

"Our academic community is comprised of a diverse and talented team of physicians, scientists, students, and trainees,” said E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean, University of Maryland School of Medicine. “Together, this community of scholars seeks the answers to health and disease, pursues the elusive cures for diseases with high morbidity and mortality, and acquires the knowledge and skills that will serve as the foundation of a career healing others. We salute our students, who have excelled throughout the course of their medical education, and we recognize our outstanding faculty members, who mentor and train future generations of physicians, scientists, and allied health professionals.”

The awards ceremony honored students across a variety of medical disciplines who have demonstrated high academic achievement, humanism, and professionalism during their time at the School of Medicine. Awards were presented from nearly every School of Medicine department, with many of the awards named in honor of influential department founders, former chairs or faculty members, or in recognition of donors who made generous personal gifts to establish an award or prize.

Although these student awardees are the best of our best, student speaker Michael Foster, recipient of the Balder Scholarship Award for Academic Achievement, encouraged his classmates to “be humble. Don’t forget where you came from,” he said, reminding them how much they didn’t know when they first started medical school and how much more there is to learn. He also encouraged them to keep growing and learning as physicians, not in conventional ways but in their own unique ways. “To be great you have to be different,” he encouraged. “Don’t be scared to be different.”

In addition to students receiving recognition at the ceremony, two faculty members were inducted as fellows into the Carolyn J. Pass, MD ’66 and Richard M. Susel, MD ’66 Academy of Educational Excellence, which awards faculty members who demonstrate excellence in both patient care and classroom instruction. This year’s honorees were William Randall, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology, and Eric Strauch, MD, Associate Professor, Department of Surgery. Faculty members inducted into the Academy are recognized on a plaque located inside the Pass and Susel Medical Education Facility in Howard Hall, and receive special pins to signify their membership into the Academy. Now in its third year, the Pass and Susel Academy also inducts a medical student. This year, MS-IV Grace Koo was honored as a Student Teacher Fellow.

Drs. Pass and Susel also established a new award last year, The Medical Education Tool Chest, which rewards faculty members who introduce novel curriculum changes and provides funding for projects designed to augment medical student education. This year’s recipient was Kerry Thom, MD, MS, Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology & Public Health.

The School of Medicine Class of 2016 received their doctoral hoods in a special convocation ceremony at the Hippodrome Theater on May 19. Commencement for the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) was on May 20 at the Royal Farms Arena.

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