Ross University Blog

RECAP: RUSM Holds Commencement Exercises for Class of 2015

June 02, 2015

Some of the graduates walked across the stage slowly, with a dignified pace befitting the commencement ceremony of Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM). Others strode quickly, purposefully, as if they were in a rush to begin their lives as physicians. One woman shared the experience with her baby, strapped in a carrier to her front. She cradled him as she shook the hand of Dean and Chancellor Joseph A. Flaherty, MD and accepted her degree. And as each name was called, the audience clapped and cheered enthusiastically.

RUSM held commencement exercises for the Class of 2015 on Saturday, May 30 at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Florida.



Dean Asks: How Does One Succeed in Medical School?

“What does it take to succeed in medical school? To get in, to get through, and to get to a day like this,” Dean Flaherty began his remarks. “Looking out at you, and knowing what you went through to get here, it’s hard to imagine a more perfect embodiment of the concept of grit. You have faced and overcome obstacles, bounced back from setbacks, and worked harder, I’m sure, than you ever thought you were capable of.”

Dean Flaherty continued. “One of the things that attracted me to Ross was the attitude of students I met when I visited,” he said. “There was something about the way they talked about the opportunity they had and the work that was required of them. And not one of them had any doubt that they would make it through and go on to residency. That inspired me, and when I think back, and I look at you now, many of whom I have met and spoken with, I know that I was attracted to the grit that Ross students bring to this experience. The endurance. The resilience. And the commitment and drive–you wouldn’t be here without that.”

Pulitzer Prize Winner Delivers RUSM Commencement Speech

The commencement address was delivered by two-time Pulitzer-Prize winner, New York Times columnist and author Nicholas Kristof. Kristof’s columns focus on global health, poverty and gender issues in the developing world, and more. At the RUSM graduation, the theme of Kristof’s remarks was what he called the empathy gap.

“I remember at one point I was tempted to ditch journalism and go to medical school,” Kristof related. He told a story about his travels in Niger where, on a visit to a clinic, he saw a pregnant woman suffering from eclampsia who was about to lapse into a coma. The doctor would not perform a C-section because the husband couldn’t be found to give his permission. “But they didn’t want her to die in front of a New York Times journalist,” Kristof said.

So the doctor did the surgery and a healthy baby was delivered. Mother and child were fine.

“A Turning Point in Your Lives”

“One thing that I saw that day was that sometimes we still falter on access and empathy,” he told the graduates. “Today you reached a turning point in your lives. One of the dangers of success is that we risk becoming insulated from the needs of people… One of the things I admire about Ross is that so many of you end up in needy communities. You’ll be frustrated. You give patients advice and they won’t take it, about smoking, about unprotected sex. That’s when you need empathy.”

Kristof asked rhetorically, “Why don’t we take risks more often? It’s because of a sense that the problem is too vast. You’re going to see that in your profession. We’ve become numb. It seems like whatever we do is just a drop in the bucket. I’ve become a believer in drops in buckets.”

In closing, Kristof said to the graduates, “I hope you can use your learning and success to help others fill the empathy gap and fill buckets, one drop at a time.”


Jolynn on Twitter: "#RUSMG2015 #RossU @RossMedSchool Congratulations to our son Paul Sapia"

Posted by Ross University School of Medicine on Monday, June 1, 2015


2015 Accomplishments at RUSM to Date

We’re halfway through 2015, and it’s been a big year not just for RUSM’s latest group of graduates, but for the institution itself. Some highlights include:

  • Record-Breaking RUSM Match Year: RUSM again broke institutional records in this year’s residency match event, which saw more than 800  of our students earning coveted residencies in teaching hospitals across the United States. Our alumni earned residencies in competitive specialties—like ophthalmology, neurology, and surgery —while also obtaining placements in primary care programs, like internal medicine, pediatrics, and family medicine. With our new residency total, we’ve broken institutional records for the second year in a row.
  • New Student Center Opens: Officially opened on May 14, RUSM’s brand-new Student Center is the largest building on campus and is intended to become the hub for the RUSM community and a welcoming facility for visitors. Designed to provide gathering spaces that promote collaboration among students and faculty, the Student Center contains the library, student study space, multipurpose rooms, the Center for Teaching and Learning, food facilities that include a large dining area and space for three vendors, space for a campus store, and offices for the Departments of Student Affairs and Student Services.
  • RUSM’s Step 1 Pass Rate Above US/Canadian Students: For the fourth year in a row, Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) students collectively achieved a first-time pass rate on Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE) that is on par with US students who took the exam. RUSM students’ Step 1 first-time pass rate for calendar year 2014 is 97%, topping the rate of US/Canadian schools (96%) and osteopathic schools (93%).

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