LAS CRUCES – 152 students in the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine officially became doctors on Friday, May 6th. The commencement ceremony, where students received their Doctorates of Osteopathic Medicine, took place at 10 a.m. MDT at NMSU’s Pan-American Center. The event was also live-streamed on the college’s Facebook page.
John Hummer, president of the College, delivered the ceremony’s welcome remarks. “When thinking about the Class of 2022, and what you encountered, especially during years three and four, the defining adjective that came to my mind was “The Fearless,” said Hummer. “It has been stated that Fearlessness is the next level beyond confidence. And when you combine fearlessness with confidence, you have the courage to take big leaps into the unknown. You can live your dreams, build bridges to places that you can’t see, and take chances that others would not even imagine.”
The students, along with their families and friends, celebrated their graduation from medical school, donning their regalia and processing through the Pan-American center amidst fanfare from all sides of the stadium. The national anthem was performed by Class of 2022 graduate, Ben Thomas, who sang the anthem in his regalia. On stage, the students received their Doctorates of Osteopathic Medicine and were subsequently hooded with the traditional green doctoral hood. Several students chose to be hooded by a physician of their choosing, be it their relatives or family doctor.
Bill Pieratt, DO, dean of the college presented the Class of 2022 for the conferral of degrees. “The reality, as every physician here will agree, is that you are going to be tested,” recounted Dr. Pieratt. “Now, today of all days, I know the last thing you want to think about is another test. But this won’t be a test of your knowledge. This will be a test of your character. Of your integrity. Of your commitment and dedication to your patient.” He also led the graduates in reciting the Osteopathic Oath, where students restated their pledge to provide empathetic, expert care to all of their future patients.
This year’s keynote speaker was the former U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. Arne Duncan served as U.S. Secretary of Education from January 2009 through December 2015 as part of the Obama Administration. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Duncan served as chief executive officer of Chicago Public Schools. From 2001 to 2008, Duncan won praise for uniting the city’s stakeholders behind an education agenda that included opening 100 new schools; expanding after-school, summer learning, early childhood, and college access programs; dramatically boosting the caliber of teachers, and building public-private partnerships around a variety of education initiatives.
In his message to the Class of 2022, Duncan stated, “This is a remarkable Class, graduating from a truly unique College. An institution living not on a legacy or just in memories, but instead born very recently to address a need that is both urgent and critical, who will train the next generation of doctors, often from underrepresented communities to work with underserved populations. The answer is a beautiful, inspiring sight. It is each and every one of you.”
The Commencement also heard from Bob Wingo, the chairman of the Burrell Board of Trustees, and Mahmoud Alnsour, president of the Burrell College’s Student Government Association and graduating member of the Class of 2022.
The night before commencement, the Class of 2022, their families, and friends, joined the faculty and staff of the Burrell College at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Museum for the pre-commencement reception. At the pre-commencement reception, awards were given to the winners of the Distinguished Student Awards, the President’s Award, the Dean’s Award, the Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion Award, and the Leonard Tow Humanism Awards.
This event served as a casual and relaxed setting for the Class of 2022 to reconnect with their colleagues after spending their third and fourth years divided among the College’s 7 Regional Academic Centers.
This event was also one of the last times all the members of the Class of 2022 will be together before they graduate and move on to the next phase of their medical education, their residency training programs, which will spread the graduating class across
34 doctors will remain in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, helping to alleviate the physician scarcity in the Southwestern U.S.
The Class of 2022 placed into seventeen different specialties in 36 states across the country. 32 graduates will pursue residency training in Family Medicine; 43 in Internal Medicine; 19 in Emergency Medicine; 10 in Pediatrics; and 7 in Anesthesiology, among many others.
About the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine
Located in Las Cruces, New Mexico, the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine was established in 2013 to improve the health of the Southwestern U.S. and its border with Northern Mexico. The four-year, private osteopathic medical school is student-centered, utilizing the latest medical education technologies and methods to ensure student success in all fields of medicine — from primary care to subspecialties like surgery, anesthesiology, and emergency medicine. Burrell College is a freestanding college located on the New Mexico State University campus. Learn more at Burrell.edu.