On Wednesday May 22, faculty, staff, family and friends gathered to celebrate the graduation of 675 School of Public Health undergraduate, masters and doctoral students. Dean Boris Lushniak presided over the ceremony, reminding students that “commencement” is the beginning of their path to “doing good in a world that needs a lot of good.”
Graduating students cheered the inspirational words of keynote speaker Dr. Leana Wen, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
Dr. Wen shared three pieces of advice for the graduating students: don’t wait to act; don’t let others tell you what public health can or cannot do; and stand up and speak out. She shared stories of past public health triumphs and highlighted the danger of the recent state-level restrictions to abortion access and urged the graduates into political as well as public health action. “Be the one that steps up first and says what can I do with the resources I have right now?” she remarked.
Student speaker Ms. Aparna Pooleri a public health science major and an international development minor, also called her fellow graduates to action to promote the health and well-being of all communities, “We must commit ourselves to upholding that responsibility,” she urged.
“Dr. Wen’s speech was a call to action for the graduating class and reminded us that even as we leave school, we must continue to uphold our school’s mission to protect public health,” said doctoral graduate Dr. Rianna Teresa Murray who graduated with a degree in applied environmental health. “Dr. Wen’s words and her strong spirit will remain with me as I move into the next chapter of life and into the practice of public health,” she added.Friday Letter Submission