On June 2nd, Trinity School of Medicine held its 2018 commencement ceremony at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, Georgia. The class, along with nearly 400 of their friends and family, were enthusiastically welcomed to the occasion by Trinity administrative and academic leadership and a variety of VIPs. The day included a key note address from Dr. Brian Clare, esteemed physician, successful entrepreneur, and proud parent of Trinity alum Dr. Drew Clare. 2018 is Trinity's 10th year of operation and tremendous growth, but the family environment and the sincerity with which the students were embraced by faculty and the administration has not diminished in the slightest. In fact, it only seems to grow.
After welcoming the assembled graduates and guests to the event, Trinity School of Medicine president Steven R. Wilson gave moving congratulatory remarks, thanking the students for all of their hard work and promising to follow their careers with great anticipation as they move on into their residencies.
Governor General of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, His Excellency Sir Frederick Ballantyne, MD, expressed his personal joy at what Trinity's students had accomplished, and his expectations of them as physicians, and reminding them to never forget their adopted home of St. Vincent. He noted that while it lacked great material wealth, the island and its people gave them so much, and how much the small island community truly believed in Trinity's mission and its students.
Trinity dean Dr. Linda Adkison took to the podium to announce the retirement of two cherished members of the Trinity family, Dr. Paula Dessaur Wilson and Dr. Margaret Anderson. The heartfelt send off from Trinity's dean underscored the tremendous impact both women have had on Trinity's students and the school itself, shaping it during their respective times with the institution.
The keynote address by F. Brian Clare Jr. M.D., FACEP, was informative, and inspiring. Dr. Clare noted that each generation of physician sits on the precipice of major technological breakthroughs, and that an ability to adapt is a crucial skill that Trinity students are uniquely suited for due to the complexity and depth of their clinical training. He similarly emphasized the sheer volume of patients they will see over their careers (up to 1,000,000 each), while imploring them to remain engaged and, above all else, listen to their patients. This point was emphasized with the story of a colleague that had several unnecessary surgeries and long recovery times because his doctors failed to ask the simple questions that would reveal a lactose allergy. Through levity, statistics, personal experience, and the wisdom of a successful ongoing career that spans both the practice of medicine and several peripheral areas of industry, Dr. Clare eloquently sent Trinity's latest graduates off to the next great chapter of their careers.
The conference of diplomas happened alongside the hooding ceremony, a longstanding tradition in higher education. The majority of students received their hoods by Dr. Anderson and Dr. Cornelius M. Musara, FACS, a surgeon and clinical assistant professor at Trinity. Both were elected by student vote as instrumental and inspirational in their medical education. In cases where students had family or close friends that were MDs, those students were hooded by them lending even more personal weight to the moment.
Dr. Dessaur Wilson administered the students' Oath of Geneva, binding them to the ethical practice of their profession, and fully concluding their time at Trinity as students, greeting them as alumni and, with no small amount of pride, new colleagues.
After poignant parting words from Dean Adkison, attendees joined in a reception to swap stories, discuss future plans, and introduce loved ones to the faculty and classmates that, due in no small part to Trinity's unique culture of collaboration, support, and encouragement, have become so richly interwoven into their lives over the past four years.