Grad students receive degrees

by Tracy Landers | 6/9/02 5:00am

Students from the three graduate schools, Dartmouth Medical School, Tuck School of Business Administration and Thayer School of Engineering, shared the excitement and reward of graduation ceremonies this Saturday. Each school had its own ceremony -- called "Class Day" by the medical school and "Investiture" by the Tuck and Thayer schools -- accompanied by its own speakers and set of traditions.

DMS bestowed masters and doctoral degrees upon approximately 110 candidates in the fields of medicine as well as life science and evaluative clinical science. As with all high-level degree recipients, M.D. and Ph.D. students at DMS were "hooded" by two of their faculty members who were chosen by the graduates to be their "hooders."

The traditional medical hoods received by graduates hold meaning in both their color and material. The hood's green velvet face represents the profession of medicine while the silk lining on the inside represents the institution's color. The result is a completely green hood for Dartmouth's medical students.

As this year marked the DMS Dean John Baldwin's final Class Day, he was among those honored at this Saturday's ceremony on the lawn in front of the medical school. The Veterans' Medical Affairs department of the federal government awarded a special commendation to the dean for his work over the past four years. The dean, who is a cardiothoracic surgeon, is one of the most highly esteemed doctors in his field.

Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Sue Ann Hennessy described the fledgling physicians who stood at Class Day as possessing "the knowledge that has prepared them to go out in the world as competent, caring and compassionate physicians." She said she felt a renewed sense of pride in her profession seeing these students graduate, adding, "their accomplishments shine on all of us."

Two students, who were elected by their peers to be the voice of their class, also spoke at Class Day. Christian J. Mekoc, DMS '02 was voted the M.D. recipient speaker and has been an active participant in almost all areas of medical school life.

"I will be returning to the Army to do a family medicine residency at Fort Belvoir, Virginia after graduation," Mekoc said. Eric Manning, DMS '02, and a Ph.D. recipient in microbiology and immunology, also spoke at the ceremony.

"These new physicians will always be a part of the DMS family," Hennessy concluded.

The Tuck School graduation also included hoods, as well as 212 graduates who received their Master's degrees in business administration. Rather than solid green, Tuck hoods are green velvet and tan silk.

Tuck Dean Paul Danos describes the graduate school Investiture as a perpetually "beautiful and moving ceremony ... the whole scene is a scene of happiness." He said he enjoyed the 20 to 30 colorful international flags that mingle among the faces of hundreds of family members on Tuck Circle. He said people stay at the reception following the ceremony for several hours, as "many of the students have a sense of nostalgia."

This year the Thayer school invited prominent engineering alum Jeffery Immelt '78 to be their Investiture speaker. Immelt, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of General Electric, also received the Robert Fletcher Award, given annually to a graduate or friend of the School in recognition of distinguished achievement and service.