Commencement of the Medical School Class of 2024 celebrates overcoming COVID-19 challenges


University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) celebrated the newest class of graduating doctors and their dedication, resilience, compassion and commitment to making a difference through medicine. Class of 2024 Doctor of Medicine Commencement Ceremony Held on May 15, 2024 at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts.

Siblings Lauren and Ryan Lim hold graduation tassels and smile with their parents Nancy Lim, PhD, and Peter Lim, MD.Siblings Lauren and Ryan Lim hugged by their parents Nancy Lim, Ph.D., and Peter Lim, M.D.

The program started with an introduction Tim Baker, MD, UNR Med vice dean and vice president of Renown Health education. Dr. Baker warmly welcomed the distinguished guests, faculty, staff, alumni, family and friends who gathered in person and virtually to celebrate this important milestone in the lives of 69 graduates.

“This is not only a celebration of our students’ achievements but also a testament to your love, encouragement and support that made this day possible for our graduates,” said Dr. Baker.

Amid a crowd of proud faculty, staff, family members and friends, a series of speakers recognized graduates for their ability to overcome obstacles that tested the limits of their endurance. From the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic to the rigorous demands of medical education, the speakers highlighted the indomitable spirit of these budding medical professionals who will act as a beacon of hope for a brighter future.

Sylvia Akosua Asare hooded by Joel Benavente.

Sylvia Akosua Asare hooded by Joel Benavente.


“What happened when you all were going through your first year as medical students was really quite extraordinary,” said university President Brian Sandoval. “You showed us that the heroic actions of our medical community have a transferable value of resilience, patience and understanding that will characterize all of you throughout your professional lives.”

Sandoval continued to describe the extensive changes and challenges students have faced between the pandemic and today. He reminded them of their resilience and strength in the face of adversity.

Paul J HauptmannMD, UNR Med dean and chief academic officer of Renown Health, also stressed the importance of connecting with patients, taking time to understand their pain and remembering to include their family and loved ones.

Michael Anthony Wycko, MBA Grandma in the Hood by Gloria Wycko.
Michael Anthony Wycko, MBA Hooded by Gloria Wycko.

“Medicine is a calling and you have answered the call,” Dr. Hauptman said. “Now you know we are here to serve our patients, to listen to them, to console them, to advocate for them. There is a human being behind every X-ray and every lab test. What is a normal day for you may be a remarkable day for a patient who receives good news and conversely may be a life-changing and difficult moment for a patient who learns of a dire prognosis on the same day. Is.

keynote speaker, Gary H. GibbonsMD, Director of National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute At the National Institute of Health, took the stage to address the students. She began by sharing the story of her grandmother, who moved to Philadelphia from Georgia at the turn of the century and instilled in her a tireless work ethic, love for community, and a lifelong love of learning.

“With curiosity, you will constantly overcome ignorance, and constantly ask ‘why’ questions,” Dr. Gibbons said. “This will help you embrace the fact that medicine is constantly changing and that as physicians, you must embrace that change.” He recounted his experience working with Dr. Hauptman 35 years ago and noted that many of the procedures he performed are no longer standard of care. “As science and medicine continue to grow and change, you must commit to lifelong learning to provide the best care,” he shared.

Dean Paul J.  Hauptmann shakes the hand of keynote speaker Gary Gibbons.Dean Paul J. Hauptmann and keynote speaker Gary Gibbons.

Dr. Gibbons ended her speech with a promise: “If you have a commitment and calling to compassionate care, the courage to move forward with uncertainty in the face of adversity, and the ability to connect with the community and mentors who will help you meet those challenges and turn them into opportunities, you will have an incredible career ahead of you.”

Later, Ruby Lopez-Flores, president of the Class of 2024, reminded her classmates of the challenges they overcame to reach this day.

“With each new challenge, we found a way to look on the bright side,” he said. “Despite these obstacles, we found ways to create happy moments. In between exams there will be board game nights, weekend trips, lake days, and even an attempt at a human pyramid. These moments served to connect us every step of the way and help us make our way to clinical rotations.

After the comments, Cherry SingerThe Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs, MD, introduced the graduates and their hood presenters, who were often family, faculty or advisors. Reka Danko, MD, clinical associate professor, hospitalist, and chief medical officer, and Carl Sievert, PhD, professor of physiology and cell biology, assisted each person providing hoods to the graduates.

Military graduates taking the oath of service.Military graduates Ana Barragan (Naval Medical Center), Jordan Dobrich, MBA, (Madigan Army Medical Center) and Leanne Marie Perez (Walter Reed Medical Center) were sworn into service.

During the program, Nevada Adjutant General, Lt. Col. Ryan Stidham, senior Regular Army advisor to the Nevada National Guard, oversaw the commissioning of four graduates, signaling their commitment to serve their country while practicing medicine.

Ana Barragan was promoted to Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps, Jordan Bobrich was promoted to Captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, and Leanne Perez was promoted to Captain in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps. Was promoted in.

In a time-honored tradition, Lisa CalvoMD, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, led the recitation of the Physician's Oath. The graduates raised their hands and solemnly pledged their dedication to the ethical practice of medicine and the well-being of their patients.

Notable guests present in the event Inclusive:

  • Chancellor Patty Charlton
  • Board of Regent Joseph Arrascada
  • Board of Regents Heather Brown
  • Board of Regent Carol Del Carlo
  • Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Academic Affairs, Neda Etezadi-Amoli, MD, FACOG
  • Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, David Aucoin, Ph.D.
  • Associate Dean of Admissions and Student Affairs, Cheri Singer, Ph.D.
  • Assistant Dean of Admissions, Aaron Dieringer, MD, MPH
  • Professor of Physiology and Cell Biology, Carl Sievert, Ph.D.
  • Lisa Calvo, MD, associate professor of internal medicine
  • UNR Med Alumni Chapter President is Reka Danko, MD, a graduate of the Class of 2008, who completed her residency with UNR Med in 2011.
  • Assemblywoman Elaine Marzola
  • University of Nevada, Reno Provost Jeff Thompson
  • Brian Erling, MD, CEO of Renown Health
  • Washoe County Commissioner, Mike Clark
UNR Med Class of 2024 on the Pioneer Center stage.Sixty-nine graduates of the UNR Med Class of 2024.

To conclude the official proceedings, President Sandoval conferred the degrees of Doctor of Medicine on the graduates, symbolizing the successful completion of their medical education. The graduates, their families and friends then gathered outside to share congratulations and celebrate their accomplishments.

“On behalf of the University of Nevada, Reno, I want to extend our heartfelt congratulations and heartfelt thanks for all you have done over the past four years,” Sandoval said. “May this be the beginning of even greater things to come for all of you.”

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