Congratulations to the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S) Class of 2018. The May 16 graduation ceremony in the Armory honored 158 students who received MD degrees from VP&S and 70 students who received PhD degrees from Columbia’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The graduation address was delivered by P. Roy Vagelos, MD, a 1954 graduate of VP&S, chair of the Columbia University Irving Medical Center Board of Advisors, retired chairman and CEO of Merck & Co., and chairman of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.
“I have this dream of people being able to express themselves and do what they love to do,” said Dr. Vagelos. He encouraged students to find their true purpose. “You should do whatever you want to do. In the future, the [VP&S] students who graduate will have no debt. That is key. Medicine and taking care of patients is the best possible career in the world.”
After graduation, Columbia’s newest physicians and surgeons will start their residencies. The most popular residencies for the Class of 2018 are internal medicine, psychiatry, pediatrics, emergency medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedic surgery, dermatology, and neurology.
The university-wide commencement ceremony at the Morningside campus included honors for a VP&S faculty member, James Spears, MD. Dr. Spears, a special lecturer in medicine in the Center for Family and Community Medicine, received a Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching.
At the Armory graduation ceremony for VP&S, these faculty members were honored:
- Marianne Wolff, MD, professor emeritus of clinical surgical pathology & cell biology, VP&S Distinguished Service Award in Basic Science
- Peter Puchner, MD, professor emeritus of clinical urology, VP&S Distinguished Service Award in Clinical Science
- Paulette Bernd, PhD, professor of pathology & cell biology at CUMC, the Charles W. Bohmfalk Award for Pre-Clinical Years
- Magdalena Sobieszczyk, MD, associate professor of medicine at CUMC, the Charles W. Bohmfalk Award for Clinical Years
- Gail Williams, MD, professor of medicine at CUMC, Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award
- Julie Canman, MD, assistant professor of pathology & cell biology, Doctor Harold and Golden Lamport Research Award in Basic Sciences
- George Gallos, MD, associate professor of anesthesiology, Doctor Harold and Golden Lamport Research Award in Clinical Sciences
- Marina Catallozzi, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics and population and family health at CUMC, Distinguished Teacher Award given by the Class of 2018
Also at this year’s ceremony, VP&S awarded a posthumous MD degree to David Kearney McDonogh. The degree was presented by Lee Goldman, MD, the Harold and Margaret Hatch Professor of the University, Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine, and Chief Executive of Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Dr. McDonogh’s relative, Patricia Worthy, accepted the diploma on his behalf. Dr. McDonogh, an African American who was born an enslaved person in Louisiana in the 1820s, completed his studies at VP&S but was not granted a degree because of his race.