Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine paid tribute to the outstanding achievement of faculty, staff, and medical students during the 2022 OUWB Honors Convocation held Thursday.

‘Tremendous!': Commencement held for OUWB Class of 2022
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The Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine Class of 2022 celebrated graduation today, marking the end of a non-traditional medical school experience with the return of a traditional commencement ceremony.

For the first time since 2019, the full traditional ceremony was held in person on the campus of Oakland University. Because of COVID-19, the event was cancelled in 2020, and in 2021, OUWB held a drive-in graduation to allow for a socially distanced and safe celebration.

Family, friends, and colleagues attended to celebrate and honor the school’s 121 newest graduates who essentially made it through half of their medical education during a global pandemic.

Speakers included: Oakland University President Ora Pescovitz M.D.; OUWB Stephan Sharf Dean Duane Mezwa, M.D.; Tina Freese Decker, president and CEO, Beaumont Health, Spectrum Health System; Robert Schostak, chair, Oakland University Board of Trustees; and Berkley Browne, Ph.D., associate dean for Student Affairs.

Click here to see the list of OUWB Class of 2022 match list

Grace Peterson, M.D., spoke on behalf of the Class of 2022, while Chris Jaeger, M.D., (’15) was the alumni speaker. Nina Abubakari, president and CEO, Advantage Health Centers of Detroit, was the keynote speaker.

Mezwa said he was honored to be with the students and their families and friends back in the O'rena again, and called it “tremendous.”

“It’s your turn to make your mark now and show the world what OUWB physicians are made of,” he continued. “Believe in your OUWB training, and I promise you a long and fulfilling career.”

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Pescovitz said she believes the students are ready to face challenges that now await the new doctors.

“How do we know this?” she asked. “Because during your time at OUWB you have demonstrated the strength, dedication, knowledge, and resiliency that are the essential features of being one of the best physicians anywhere.”

Freese Decker shared her advice for three actions for the graduates to reflect on: maintain humility and compassion; commit to making health care better for everyone; and for each to make themselves a priority. 

Browne called it a “great joy” to be part of the Class of 2022’s commencement.

“Your class is very special in that you have journeyed through this medical school experience under some extraordinary circumstances, and you have navigated that challenge with true care and compassion for each other,” she said. 

Jaeger congratulated the students for what he called “a monumental accomplishment.”

“We all know that this path comes at great personal sacrifice,” he said. “Despite the immense challenges inherent with medical training and the complexity created by the pandemic, you have thrived and now will be forever called a doctor.”

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Abubakari encouraged the graduates to keep five items in their metaphorical doctor bags: a stethoscope to listen to their own hearts; a mirror to keep students aligned with their personal principles; a thermometer to ensure unconscious biases are no affecting thinking, reasoning, and perceptions; colorful confetti as a reminder to stop and smell the roses; and a phone to serve as a reminder that loved ones are never too far away. 

She also thanked all the OUWB professors, administrators, parents, grandparents, and other loved ones in attendance.

"Thank you for your sacrifice," she said. "Especially during this pandemic where continuity of education from preschool to college has been deeply impacted.. you have remained focused on creating a new generation of medical professionals."

Several of those parents hooded graduates, including Susan Wainwright, M.D., assistant professor, Department of Psychiatry. She hooded her son, Zachary Rollins, M.D. 

"This is such an exciting time because (Zachary) has worked so hard and put so much effort into it...we're just thrilled for him," she said.

Zachary said it felt "surreal" to be celebrating graduation.

"I'm really grateful for OUWB to really allowing me to thrive and succeed to my fullest potential," he said. 

Mujahed Abbas, M.D., hooded his son, Omar Abbas, M.D., who became a third-generation physician Friday. 

"It feels great," he said. "We're reflecting on a lot of things today...and feeling very proud."

'Deeper than medicine'

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Kevin Roby, M.D., said commencement represented the culmination of a lifelong dream to become a doctor. 

Kevin Roby, M.D., said commencement represented the culmination of a lifelong dream to become a doctor. 

"I've been on this journey for so many years...and today's the day," he said. "It's really surreal to have my family and friends here, and classmates that I've grown to love...it's just an incredible feeling and like no other."

Michael Moussa, M.D., said he felt "incredible" and that he thought this day would never arrive. 

"For me, it's deeper than medicine," he said. "It's almost like bearing the fruit of all the sacrifices of my emigrant parents who just came with $1 and a dream...and now their child gets to spend his life serving others and giving and...it's incredible. Now I feel like I can finally breathe in and enjoy everything."

Katherine Mullan, M.D., called the day "really exciting."

"We've all worked really hard to be here," she said. "It's nice to see everyone we started med school with and have a day for use to all come together and celebrate all of our hard work."

Helen Huetteman, M.D., said she had feelings of "awe" toward commencement and officially becoming a doctor. She was particularly grateful for the opportunity to sit with the same classmates she sat with during the 2018 White Coat Ceremony. 

"I remember coming here four years ago and now we've made it this far...I'm so proud and honored to be here," she said. 

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Rafey Rehman, M.D., and Michael Moussa, M.D., congratulate each other at Friday's commencement.

Jeremy Santamaria, M.D., called the last four years for he and his classmates a "huge journey."

"It's an exciting time to go on to the next step of our medical careers," he said. "For me, it still hasn't hit me yet that I'm going to be an M.D....receiving that diploma is like the final confirmation that our hard work has been recognized."

Emma Randall, M.D., said she was excited to be hooded by her brother, Martin Randall, M.D. ('20), who didn't get the traditional commencement experience because of COVID-19's impact. 

Randall also said it was nice to be back with the entire class.  

"We haven't been together since we started clinicals so it's really nice to see everybody as we begin the next chapter of our lives," she said. "I'm excited to finally be a doctor."

Tanya Gonzalez, M.D., called the day "pivotal" for the graduates and their loved ones. 

"A lot of hard work has been put into just this moment that we've all be looking forward to," she said. "I would say that this day is also as big for my parents as it is for me."

In addressing the Class of 2022, Peterson, who will begin an orthopaedic surgery residency, said that regardless of the hurdles they encountered along the way, the OUWB community helped them stay the course of their medical school journey.

“A healing fracture often requires reduction and fixation with a cast or a plate, just like the support we each received from our faculty members, staff and friends,” she said. “The sharing of success and helping others through four years of difficult coursework serve as a constant reminder of the compassion that OUWB asks us to demonstrate for our patients.”

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at adietderich@oakland.edu.

To request an interview, visit the OUWB Communications & Marketing webpage.

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