The University of Mississippi Medical Center for the fourth year is breaking its record for degrees conferred to health-care and science professionals.
The Class of 2016 is 950 strong. In 2013, the record was 677. That jumped to 847 in 2014, and in 2015, 863 graduates received degrees.
The graduates of the schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences, Nursing, and Health Related Professions are beginning their careers with the aim of improving health and the quality of life for people across Mississippi and the nation. They were recognized during UMMC's 60th Commencement May 27 at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.
Graduates of the UMMC School of Dentistry prepare to accept their diplomas.
Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, and Dr. Jeffrey Vitter, chancellor of the University of Mississippi, addressed more than 3,000 guests who came to cheer on their family and friends.
“There are just four things I want you to take with you,” Woodward told graduates. “Number one, this is only the beginning of your learning process. Number two, deal with others and those you serve with a deep respect for their differences.
A new UMMC graduate gives friends and family a wave.
“Number three, our nation will continue to struggle with ways to care for the sick. You can play a role in finding a solution to this struggle. Number four, you will never practice any health profession well if you don't have a good time doing it.”
“Those of you who will receive your degrees today and soon begin practicing the healing arts share a common legacy with all who have gone before you -- and that is a mark of quality,” Vitter said.
“We are confident that you are well prepared for your next steps of training or to assume your responsibility as a health-care provider.”
Among the degrees conferred:
School of Medicine, 128 graduates receiving the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree.
School of Dentistry, 34 graduates receiving the Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.) degree.
Lonnie Moore of Crowder, a master of science graduate in the UMMC School of Nursing celebrates earning his degree.
School of Nursing, 433 graduates receiving either the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.), Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) degree.
School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences, 88 graduates receiving either the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree or the Master of Science (M.S.) degree.
School of Health Related Professions, 267 graduates receiving either the Doctorate in Physical Therapy (D.P.T.); Master of Occupational Therapy (M.O.T.); Master of Science (M.S.) in Health Sciences or Health Informatics and Information Management; or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Radiologic Sciences, Dental Hygiene, Medical Laboratory Science, Health Sciences, Cytotechnology, or Health Informatics and Information Management.
Zachary Johnson of Ocean Springs receives his Doctor of Medicine from Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.
The 2016 graduates include School of Medicine graduate Zach Johnson, who's headed to the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas to complete a residency in neurosurgery. It's dream that Johnson, born in Greece while his dad was stationed there in the U.S. Air Force, has had for some time.
“My grandfather died of a brain tumor when I was younger, so I had a passion for it,” said Johnson, 26, who attended high school in Ocean Springs and graduated from Mississippi College in Clinton. “I started medical school and wasn't sure what I wanted to do, but I've always been interested in surgery because I love to work with my hands, and I love the complexities of neuroscience.”
Neurosurgery is a plum residency for any School of Medicine graduate. Johnson will spend seven years as a resident. “I had peace knowing I'd done everything I could up to that point,” he said of interviewing with the Dallas medical center. “It's an incredibly humbling experience.”
Luressie Jones of Isola celebrates earning her bachelor of science in medical laboratory science from the School of Health Related Professions.
The graduates also include Luressie Jones of Isola, who received her bachelor of science in medical laboratory science from the School of Health Related Professions. Getting her degree was a journey - in fact, she traveled an hour and half a day each way, usually six days a week, to attend classes and offer tutoring.
“I did it for my parents,” said Jones, 27, who received a bachelor of science in biomedical sciences from Mississippi State University in 2012. “Both are retired educators, and I want to make them proud.”
Jones, who grew up in Laurel and finds time to juggle her boyfriend and four dogs, is job-hunting as she studies for her board examination. “I see myself staying in Mississippi, wherever the opportunity is,” she said.
Among those receiving accolades was Dr. Jennifer Bain, assistant professor and interim department chair of periodontics and preventive sciences in the School of Dentistry. She is winner of the 2016 Regions Bank TEACH Prize, given to the person who most represents the highest qualities of the Medical Center's academic faculty.
Dr. Jessica Bailey, dean of the School of Health Related Professions, presents the Dr. Virginia Stansel Tolbert Award to Brenna Shoemaker of Flowood.
The six students who received top honors were:
Amanda Daggett of Jackson, Waller S. Leathers Award for the medical student with the highest academic average for four years;
Brannon Myrick of Pearl, Wallace V. Mann Jr. Award for the dental student with the highest academic average for four years;
Davelin Woodard of Oxford, Christine L. Oglevee Memorial Award for the outstanding School of Nursing baccalaureate graduate;
Robert Rivers of Ellisville, Richard N. Graves Award for the registered nurse deemed most outstanding by the faculty in clinical and overall performance;
Brenna Shoemaker of Flowood, Dr. Virginia Stansel Tolbert award for the student with the highest academic average in the School of Health Related Professions.
Ellen Gillis of Olive Branch, Randall-Trustmark Award for outstanding research achievement by a graduate student.
Full resolution versions of photos from Commencement can be downloaded from this link: https://ummc.box.com/s/wt81gt0afr2qlpb8s7um22uix4az7drt
Locate graduates from your area by viewing names of their preferred newspaper on the left side of the spreadsheet accessed at https://ummc.box.com/s/pqiqa65apvaluxevkugdtm083fv5shhk
Hometown, degree conferred and family information provided by each student appears after their name. You may also search by a graduate's county or city.
To find a full-resolution downloadable picture of the graduates, search by last name in the search box found at the top of the folder linked above.