Commencement 2013

May 16, 2013

As we head into commencement weekend, it's a time to celebrate the most important thing we do at the University of Kansas Medical Center: educate highly trained and deeply compassionate professionals who will improve health and health care for all.

I am so proud of all of our students, who are bound to become outstanding health care providers and scientists. Coming from many different places and backgrounds, over the last few years they have brought different life experiences to our campuses, enriching us all. Now they are adding those experiences to the thousands of others who, each day, carry out our mission to provide the people of Kansas, the nation and the world with the best possible health care.

I plan to spend the entire weekend celebrating our graduates. Bright and early on Saturday morning I'll join Dean Karen Miller at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan., for the School of Health Professions recognition ceremony, followed by the School of Nursing recognition ceremony. Then I'll head to the Student Center on our Kansas City campus for the joint hooding ceremony for graduates in our programs for Master of Health Informatics, Master of Health Services Administration, Master of Public Health, Master of Science in Clinical Research, and Master of Science in Biostatistics. From there it's immediately to the Lied Center in Lawrence for the doctoral hooding ceremony and, later that evening, the School of Medicine hooding and awards.Then, of course, the grand finale of commencement at Memorial Stadium on Sunday.

Even as we congratulate our students on their enormous accomplishment, they now face a new challenge. Preventing, treating and curing illnesses and caring for those who need their help will at many times feel all-consuming. But in addition to that difficult work, we also expect our graduates to be leaders.

Many of our students began their time at KU Medical Center with a day of community service. We hope they will continue that work, whether it's in the neighborhoods surrounding their homes or on the other side of the world. I'm a veteran of many medical missions trips, so I know first-hand how rewarding that can be - but none of our graduates need to go that far from home to bring about positive changes in the world. Our graduates can write letters to the editor the next time state lawmakers consider cutting funding to the medical center. Wherever they go, we need our graduates to tell the story of this place and how hard people are working to educate leaders, build healthy communities and make discoveries that change the world.

Also, I'll ask that our graduates stay in touch with KU - at the very least, by becoming a member of the Medical Center Alumni Association.

This is also the time of year to remember that our graduates don't make the long journey alone. They owe their success not only to taxpayers but also to spouses and partners, parents and grandparents, siblings, children and friends who provided the love and encouragement they needed. For that, all of us are deeply appreciative.

I'm also grateful to our faculty and staff for their deep commitment to the educational mission of the university. Everyone who works at KU Medical Center has devoted their time, talent and expertise to the education of these students. So, thanks to each and every one of you for a job well done, and please join me in congratulating our graduates. 

Last modified: May 16, 2013