An excited crowd of family and friends gathered at the Galen Center on the University Park Campus May 13 to celebrate the commencement of nearly 400 PhD and master’s degree candidates from the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Among them were the graduates from the master of science in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine program.
The ceremony began with a speech by Grand Marshal Donna Spruijt-Metz, director of the USC Health Collaboratory Center for Economic and Social Research, research professor of psychology at the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and well-known to many students in her important role as director of responsible conduct in research at the Keck School. Spruijt-Metz encouraged students to make a difference, reading a poem by Maggie Smith that ended with the words, “You could make this place beautiful.”
The same sentiments were echoed in heartfelt speeches by students Manpreet Kaur, master of public health graduate, and Ryan Roberts, PhD graduate. During a ceremony held earlier in the week, Roberts was awarded the Order of the Torch, one of the highest accolades a USC student may receive, for commitment to service while maintaining a high level of academic integrity.
The commencement speech was delivered by Anne Schuchat, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and acting administrator for the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Schuchat inspired students by reminding them how many lives can be saved through science, and emphasized that it is crucially important to implement inventions once they are made. “Science does not end with discovery,” she told the audience. “We must follow through with delivery.”
Rohit Varma, dean of the Keck School and director of the USC Gayle and Edward Roski Eye Institute, and Elahe Nezami, associate dean for graduate affairs (undergraduate, masters and professional programs), awarded diplomas to the graduates, to loud cheers by friends and family.