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Top story: UMass Chan Medical School Class of 2022 celebrates science at 49th Commencement

Cori Bargmann, head of science at Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, encourages grads to use ‘trust conferred on you to be an agent for the truth’

As the year comes to a close, the Office of Communications is rerunning some of the biggest and most read stories posted in 2022, with topics such as the UMass Chan research that guided the FDA on recommendations for rapid COVID-19 tests, plans for a regional medical campus with Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Burlington and The Boston Globe’s Top Places to Work list, which included UMass Chan for the first time. Look for these stories on UMass Chan News between Dec. 21 and Dec. 30. This story was originally published on June 5, 2022.

  • Overlooking the UMass Chan campus green is the frame of the new education and research building, scheduled for completion in 2024.
  • T.H. Chan School of Medicine Learning Community mentors gather before the processional.
  • UMass Chan faculty marshals Lela Giannaris, PhD and Rose Kronziah-Seme, PhD, lead the ceremony.
  • Victor R. Ambros, PhD, the Silverman Chair in Natural Sciences, in the faculty procession.
  • Chancellor Michael F. Collins greets the graduates and their guests.
  • Paula A. Johnson, MD, MBA, president of Wellesley College, receives an honorary degree.
  • James O’Connell, MD, MTheol, president of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, receives an honorary degree
  • Cornelia “Cori” Bargmann, PhD, the president of science for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, gives the commencement address.
  • Jennifer Katherine DiBenedetto gives the class address for the Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing.
  • Maggi Ahmed Reffat Aly Ahmed is hooded by David Weaver, PhD and John Harris, MD, PhD.
  • Terence R. Flotte, MD, executive deputy chancellor, provost and dean of the T.H. Chan School of Medicine
  • Celia Schiffer, PhD, professor and chair of biochemistry and molecular biotechnology (center) with her two PhD mentees, Jacqueto Zephyr, left and Anne Myrline Jecrois, right.
  • Margaret Ruddy, MD, receives congratulations from a well-wisher.

(To see more images from the day, visit us on Facebook.)

The annual commencement proceedings returned to the UMass Chan Medical School campus in Worcester on Sunday, June 5, for the first time in three years in a jubilant gathering. The 49th Commencement Exercises, with classes from the Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing, the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the T.H. Chan School of Medicine, were held under a tent on the campus green with faculty, family and friends in attendance.

Chancellor Michael F. Collins presided over the ceremony, presenting 162 Doctor of Medicine degrees, eight MD/PhD degrees, three Master of Science in Clinical Investigation degrees, 40 Doctor of Philosophy and one Master of Science degrees in the biomedical sciences, 33 Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees, eight PhD in Nursing degrees, four Master of Science in nursing degrees, and 11 postgraduate certificates.

“I am pleased to be the first to officially salute the classes of 2022, who are the very first to be graduating from the Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing, the Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and the T.H. Chan School of Medicine,” said Chancellor Collins, referencing the name changes to the schools subsequent to last year’s transformational $175 million gift from the Morningside Foundation of the Chan family. “Graduates in the classes of 2022 are known for their outstanding academic accomplishments, as well as their extraordinary commitment to reaching beyond the borders of the campus to work with and to help others. We applaud you as you prepare to take your rightful place in our city, our commonwealth, our nation and our world as graduates of Massachusetts’ first—and only—great public medical school.”

Honorary degrees were awarded to Paula A. Johnson, MD, MPH, president of Wellesley College and a preeminent cardiologist, scientist and educator; James O’Connell, MD, MTheol, president of the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, where his commitment to caring for homeless individuals earned him a reputation as the city’s “street doctor”; and Cori Bargmann, PhD, head of science at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, head of the Lulu and Anthony Wang Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior, and the Torsten N. Wiesel Professor at The Rockefeller University.

Dr. Bargmann delivered the commencement address.

“Today we recognize what you have learned and accomplished in the fields of medicine and science, through effort, intelligence and skill,” she said. “Celebrate science, collaborate with each other and with your patients, and use your unique expertise and the trust conferred on you to be an agent for the truth.”

Class speakers were Jennifer DiBenedetto, PhD; Daniel Hidalgo, PhD; and Iha Kaul, MD, MPH. Classmates echoed their themes of community, collaboration and caring.

“I believe that working with a very diverse group and population has been extremely helpful for me,” said Erick Sandoval, DNP. “Working with different students along different paths and careers and mindsets has helped my development.”

“UMass is very collaborative. Faculty have been really supportive,” said Jennifer Eunmi Moon, PhD. “The most valuable thing we had was the career development program, where we got to be introduced to different professions and think outside of the box in terms of what we wanted to do next after graduation.”

“The people here really carried me through,” said Sheikh Moinul, MD. “It instilled in me that camaraderie is essential to obtaining any amount of success.”

Read Chancellor Collins' full remarks.
Watch the complete 49th Commencement Exercises. 

Related stories on UMass Chan News:
Stole ceremony celebrates diversity and unity among UMass Chan Classes of 2022
Resilient T.H. Chan School of Medicine Class of 2022 honored at awards ceremony
Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing celebrates student and faculty achievement
Dean Lane to graduate biomedical science students: ‘You are addressing the big questions’