Rain could not dampen the celebratory spirit of graduates and their families at the University of Michigan School of Public Health’s graduation ceremonies, April 28. Inside U-M’s historic Hill Auditorium, the atmosphere was energized and bright as faculty and Class of 2016 graduates processed into the hall.
“This is my favorite time of year,” said one faculty member. “We don’t take the opportunity to applaud our students often enough, to step back and take stock of just how capable and committed they are.”
Speakers repeatedly reminded the graduates that they are positioned to do a world of good at a time when there is so much that needs to be done to improve the public’s health.
“I know of no greater calling than bettering the health and well-being of your fellow human beings,” said Dean Martin Philbert who presided at the ceremony. Provost Martha Pollack was among the honored guests who offered congratulations.
Friends and family from near and far filled the auditorium to applaud the achievements of the 367 graduating students, who hail from 16 countries and 112 undergraduate colleges and universities.
In her address to the graduating students, Ms. Shamsia Ramadhan shared several personal experiences and lessons as a peace practitioner who works with communities in conflict to promote peace and social cohesion. Her stories from Egypt, Nigeria, Niger, Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya provided the basis for five lessons she offered to the graduating class:
“The truth is that our world is broken. Diseases, conflicts, and climate change are factors that contribute to the broken world; the poor are more likely to suffer chronic health problems and fall into financial hardships due to health costs, and they are less likely to have access to healthy food and health care. My plea to you, graduates, is don’t fit in, don’t get by, don’t stand by. Fix it! If one person is broken, then we are all broken. Focus on our common humanity and care for others as you would like to be cared for.”
[Photo: U-M Dean Martin Philbert and Provost Martha Pollock]
A longstanding tradition at graduation is the presentation of the Excellence in Teaching Award, given this year to Dr. Ananda Sen, a research professor in biostatistics and also in the Medical School’s department of family medicine.
Ms. Liz Mosley, a doctoral candidate in health behavior and health education, received the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award.
For more information, visit https://sph.umich.edu/graduation/2016/index.html