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A rite of passage

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During a morning of acknowledgements and celebrations recognizing the Schulich Medicine Class of 2017, three distinct and very powerful calls to action were delivered by Drs. Peter Mugyenyi, Faisal Rehman and Michael Strong.

As he accepted his honorary degree, Dr. Mugyenyi encouraged students to be aware of social injustices at home and around the world, to speak up and get involved so that those who are less fortunate in our society are have access to all the rights afforded to others.

Meanwhile, Dr. Rehman, honorary class president, shared the importance of philanthropy, and called upon the Class of 2017 to give back.

“Once you complete your residency and pay back all those student loans, pick a cause, and annually donate at least 10 per cent of your salary to that cause,” he said, encouraging students to take their social responsibility to a new level of commitment.

Dr. Strong’s annual address to the graduating class echoed Drs. Mugyenyi and Rehman’s speech, while telling personal stories about his own biases, how he has continued to learn and grow as a physician to overcome those biases.

The Dean reflected on how society needs young physicians, today, to use their voices to fight injustices while always being the voice of reason.

“We’ve trained you to be physicians, your task now is to take these skills and then turn them loose on the world,” Dr. Strong said. He continued by sharing that tolerance and normalization of injustices are increasing at alarming rates, and our society needs future physicians to help change this.

“Speak out against injustices,” he said. “We truly need you.”

During the ceremony, Jerry Battista, PhD, and Drs. David Shing Chung Lee, Patricia Morley-Forster, Fiona Ralley and Witek Zaleski received their Professor Emeritus status. As well, Dr. Rehman was honoured with the Class of ’62 Award and Dr. Gary Tithecott received the Douglas Bocking Award.

Enjoy a slideshow of the photos captured at this year’s ceremony. Can’t see the slideshow below? View online.