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13th Annual Student Awards Ceremony Recognizes Top Medical Graduates

May 17, 2019

Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA

UMSOM Medical Students Receive Recognition for Their Academic Achievements

“Tonight, we celebrate our exceptional students who have worked diligently in the pursuit of excellence towards their medical degrees,” said E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs at UM Baltimore, John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor, and Dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, as he welcomed distinguished guests, donors, faculty, students and their families at the 13th annual Student Awards Ceremony and Dinner held on Wednesday, May 15 at the Baltimore Marriot Inner Harbor at Camden Yards.

“Your dedication to excellence and your commitment to stand out from your peers, have brought us all together to celebrate this evening with you.”

Rick Van BesienThe awards dinner provided an opportunity to recognize the accomplished graduating students who have demonstrated great promise 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 those who had made generous contributions to the departments. Donors were also recognized for their generous contributions to fund these awards.

Among the awardees was Rick Van Besien, who was awarded the Balder Scholarship Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement. Established in 1961, the scholarship is awarded to the graduating senior with the highest academic record throughout the medical course. “I received a world-class education at the University of Maryland,” he said. “Thank you to all the faculty and school leadership for their unwavering dedication to helping us figuring out our passions and getting us to the next phase of our careers.”

In addition to students receiving recognition at the ceremony, two faculty members were inducted into the Academy of Educational Excellence, established by Carolyn J. Pass, MD ’66 and Richard M. Susel, MD ’66, which awards faculty members who demonstrate excellence in both patient care and classroom instruction. This year’s honorees were Phillip Dittmar, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Nirav Shah, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine. 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.

Drs. Pass and Susel also established The Medical Education Tool Chest, which assists faculty in funding the technical tools they need to succeed in today’s electronic classroom. This year’s recipients were Devang Patel, MD, Professor of Medicine, Institute of Human Virology, and Nicholas Carbonetti, PhD, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology.

The School of Medicine Class of 2019 received their doctoral hoods in a special graduation ceremony at the Hippodrome Theatre on May 16. Commencement for the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) was also held on May 16 at the Royal Farms Arena.

About the University of Maryland School of Medicine

Now in its third century, the University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today as one of the fastest growing, top-tier biomedical research enterprises in the world -- with 43 academic departments, centers, institutes, and programs; and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians, scientists, and allied health professionals, including members of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and a distinguished recipient of the Albert E. Lasker Award in Medical Research.  With an operating budget of more than $1 billion, the School of Medicine works closely in partnership with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide research-intensive, academic and clinically-based care for more than 1.2 million patients each year. The School of Medicine faculty, which ranks as the 8th highest among public medical schools in research productivity, is an innovator in translational medicine, with 600 active patents and 24 start-up companies. The School works locally, nationally, and globally, with research and treatment facilities in 36 countries around the world. Visit

Student Awards 2019


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