265 students receive diplomas at Baylor College of Medicine’s first full in-person commencement in two years
Baylor College of Medicine held the 2022 commencement ceremony at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday, its first in-person ceremony with family and friends since 2019. 265 students received their diplomas.
The School of Medicine graduated 170 students, while 86 graduates received diplomas from the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and nine graduated from the Genetic Counseling Program in the School of Health Professions. Twenty-five students graduated from dual degree programs, and 14 graduates received diplomas from the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor.
Dr. Paul Klotman, president, CEO and executive dean of Baylor College of Medicine, made sure to acknowledge the strength and resilience of the 2022 graduating class. He defined Baylor graduates as having great intellect, compassion and vision for making a difference in a harsh world.
“Since March 2020, all of you have been a part of a healthcare crisis that no one could have imagined,” he said. “By training in these challenging times, you have had the opportunity to understand the importance of both science and medicine, and you see the impact that academic medicine and public health have on a community in crisis.”
Two 2020 honorary degree recipients also joined the in-person ceremony as their degrees were conferred during that year’s virtual commencement.
Receiving the honorary Doctor of Humanities in Medicine degree was John Damonti, president of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. Bristol-Myers Squibb has worked with Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative (BIPAI) at Texas Children’s Hospital by providing more than $100 million in support over 20 years.
Receiving the honorary Doctor of Letters in Medicine degree was Dr. Peter B. Dervan, professor of chemistry at the California Institute of Technology who served as chair of the scientific advisory board of the Welch Foundation until 2021.
Dr. Mark Kobelja, chief of staff of the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, received this year’s honorary Doctor of Letters in Medicine degree and delivered the commencement address.
During his address, he commended the doctors trained by and those who currently work at Baylor College of Medicine. He said the country’s efforts to curb the effects of the COVID-19 healthcare crisis would not have been as successful without Baylor.
“The profession now more than ever depends on public trust,” Kobelja said. “The humanity of people caring for people is what makes this whole machine work. The good news is that you are optimized with education and training, but you must hold on to that humanity of healthcare.”