School of Medicine to Hold Virtual Commencement this Saturday

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Med School Commencement

MACON/SAVANNAH/COLUMBUS – Mercer University School of Medicine will hold a virtual commencement on Saturday, May 2, at 2 p.m. At that time, a video of the ceremony will be posted on the medical school’s commencement webpage for viewing.

Since many of the graduates will soon depart for residency programs around the country, the School of Medicine is proceeding with its commencement on the originally scheduled date while adapting it to a virtual format due to social distancing measures being taken during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saturday’s virtual ceremony will include nearly all the same components of a traditional commencement, including a welcome from Mercer University President William D. Underwood, greetings from School of Medicine Dean Jean Sumner, M.D., and the introduction of several special guests by Mercer Provost D. Scott Davis, Ph.D.

The special guests – numerous notable Georgians representing a diversity of fields such as politics, music and sports – will each share words of encouragement with the School of Medicine’s Class of 2020, composed of native Georgians set to begin the next step in their journeys to use their talents to better the state and beyond.

The School’s founding mission is to educate physicians and health professionals to meet the primary care and health care needs of rural and medically underserved areas of Georgia.

“Graduation is a very special occasion for these young people who have worked so hard and long for advanced degrees. They have studied hard, some for up to 20 years, to reach this milestone, and often their families have sacrificed to assist them. It is disappointing that they cannot experience an in-person ceremony to mark this milestone, but they have accepted this like the true professionals they have become,” said Dr. Sumner. “The School of Medicine is working diligently to develop a very special commencement that we hope will recognize our graduates and their families. Mercer University School of Medicine, our faculty, staff and students are very proud of them.”

Each of the 178 graduates will be shown on screen as his or her name is read.

Degrees to be conferred include the Master of Family Therapy, Master of Science in Preclinical Sciences, Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences and Doctor of Medicine.

Additionally, each day this week, the School of Medicine is celebrating this year’s graduates with a variety of virtual content at medicine.mercer.edu/2020-commencement/.

The University’s three other commencements have been rescheduled. The School of Law ceremony will take place Aug. 7 at 1 p.m. in Hawkins Arena in Macon. The Macon ceremony will take place Aug. 8 at a time to be announced in Hawkins Arena, and the Atlanta ceremony will take place Aug. 9 at 3 p.m. in the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth.

About Mercer University School of Medicine (Macon, Savannah and Columbus)

Mercer University’s School of Medicine was established in 1982 to educate physicians and health professionals to meet the primary care and health care needs of rural and medically underserved areas of Georgia. Today, more than 60 percent of graduates currently practice in the state of Georgia, and of those, more than 80 percent are practicing in rural or medically underserved areas of Georgia. Mercer medical students benefit from a problem-based medical education program that provides early patient care experiences. Such an academic environment fosters the early development of clinical problem-solving and instills in each student an awareness of the place of the basic medical sciences in medical practice. The School opened a full four-year campus in Savannah in 2008 at Memorial University Medical Center. In 2012, the School began offering clinical education for third- and fourth-year medical students in Columbus. Following their second year, students participate in core clinical clerkships at the School’s primary teaching hospitals: Medical Center, Navicent Health in Macon; Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah; and Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus. The School also offers master’s degrees in family therapy, preclinical sciences and biomedical sciences and a Ph.D. in rural health sciences.

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Kyle Sears