On June 6, 2015, Trinity School of Medicine class of 2015 attended their graduation ceremony at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, Georgia. The class, along with their friends and family, were welcomed to the occasion by His Excellency, Governor-General of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sir Frederick N. Ballantyne, MD, received parting thoughts from administrators and distinguished guests, and took their Oath of Geneva.
This class is the first group with graduates that began their journey in Trinity’s pre-medical program, including some pre-med alums graduating with honors, standing as a testament to the faculty and curriculum provided at Trinity. The group also included several Vincentian natives, making continued good on Trinity’s goals of creating opportunities not just in the international health community, but for St. Vincent itself. Notable residence match destinations include Case Western, Henry Ford, Mt. Sinai, Navicent Health, and Virginia Commonwealth with a wide array of specialties, from emergency and family medicine to obstetrics, pathology, and surgery.
Dr. Sherry Stewart, of the Department of Clinical Services at Colorado State University and a six-year Trinity faculty veteran, was honored with the Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Stewart’s dedication to anatomy, physiology, and histology had a tremendous impact on the education of Trinity’s graduates, leading them to high marks internally and externally in her areas of instruction.
Delivering the keynote address was Dr. Donna Brown, a board of trustees member at Trinity. Dr. Brown is an active member of the medical community, locally with her practice at the Virginia Eye Institute, nationally through the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Adult Strabismus, and internationally through her work with the World Pediatric Project. The World Pediatric Project brings a wide variety of medical services to Vincentians, from pediatric awareness classes for parents and professionals on respiratory health, to active medical intervention. Dr. Brown is well known to many residents of St. Vincent, as she has been visiting regularly for the past fifteen years, providing eye care for adults and children alike.
Dr. Brown’s address was heavily focused on perspective and how it influences the graduates as individuals and doctors. Citing two stories from her own career, a senior patient in an extended care facility wanting to be well enough to attend dinner outside of her room, to restoring the sight of a poet, Dr. Brown made sure that the fresh graduates understood their keen ability to directly alter the course of their patients’ lives. To contextualize this, she emphasized that students should always remember where they came from, before medical school, during their time at Trinity, and whatever comes next, and letting it grow within them a sense of development and empathy, considering pivotal events they’d experienced, that they were about to become a potential pivotal event in the lives of others through their work.
Dr. Brian Clare proudly hooding Trinity's first emergency medicine resident, his son, Dr. Drew Clare.
The hooding ceremony, a longstanding tradition in higher education used to symbolize the transition from one generation of doctors and scholars to the next, took on a special quality at this year’s graduation: six of the newly minted doctors were presented with their hoods by immediate family members. The family members each already possessed MDs, allowing them to take part and give personal and literal weight to the ceremony.
Trinity’s dean, Dr. Skelton, closed his remarks with earnest candor, delivering his personal wish and expectations for the future of his graduating students: “I want you, as physicians, to be a consistent, powerful, positive, ethical presence for your patients, for medicine, and your families. If you do that, you’ll be very successful and you will have pleased this dean.”