#UMMCGrad19: Graduates to touch lives through healing arts
Published on Thursday, May 30, 2019
By: Ruth Cummins, firstname.lastname@example.org
Commencement was the culmination of a dream for Clinton resident Sosa Adah.
Graduating from the University of Mississippi School of Medicine “seemed impossible four years ago, but the impossible is about to turn into the possible,” he said before walking onto the stage Friday at the Mississippi Coliseum to accept his diploma.
He’s one of the 853 students whose dream became reality during the 63rd annual Commencement ceremony. All are beginning their careers in the health sciences, or entering into a new chapter of an existing one in this state and beyond.
Of this year’s graduates, 647 attended the ceremony, representing the schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences, Nursing, Health Related Professions and Population Health.
“There are just four things that I want you to take with you,” Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, 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.
“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,” said Interim University of Mississippi Chancellor Larry Sparks.
Katie Hall of Brandon, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing, became Dr. Katie Hall with her new Ph.D. in Nursing in hand. “In the course of this program, I’ve added another child to my life,” said Hall, who began her doctoral studies five years ago. “Raising two kids, working full time, going to school full time … totally worth it.”
Hall, who teaches first-year traditional nursing students, received her bachelor of science in nursing from Mississippi College in 2008 and her master of nursing education from UMMC in December 2011. She decided to pursue her doctorate when she was a clinical floor nurse educator in the pediatric ICU.
“I knew that academia was where I wanted to end up, so it was my next goal to achieve,” she said. “I had really good support from my husband, and my children are young. I wasn’t missing the sporting events or all-nighters that I know are coming later.”
While daughter Makenzie, 2, is oblivious to Hall’s schooling, her 6-year-old Mollie “is so excited that mama is finally done with college,” Hall said. “We are ready for a vacation. We’re going to the beach!”
Adah, who’s headed to a pediatric residency at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., was hooded by his dad, Dr. Felix Adah, professor of physical therapy in the School of Health Related Professions.
Medicine wasn’t the career on Sosa’s mind during his time at Clinton High. He played on the Chicago Fire Juniors, the official youth club affiliate of the professional soccer club Chicago Fire – but then tore a ligament in his senior year. “I chose to pursue academics instead,” Adah said. He received his bachelor of science in biochemistry from the University of Mississippi.
In Kansas City, Adah hopes to work with youth soccer players, just like he’s done for the past three years as a Madison Central High soccer team volunteer. “As I start this new journey, I want to find a local soccer team and help mentor the kids,” he said.
A breakdown of degrees conferred:
School of Medicine, 148 graduates receiving the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree.
School of Dentistry, 33 graduates receiving the Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.) degree and 25 graduates receiving the Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene.
School of Nursing, 363 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.)
School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences, 99 graduates receiving either the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree or the Master of Science (M.S.) degree.
School of Health Related Professions, 183 graduates receiving either the Doctorate in Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) or Doctorate in Health Administration (D.H.A.); Master of Occupational Therapy (M.O.T.); Master of Science (M.S.) in Health Sciences, Health Informatics and Information Management, Magnetic Resonance Imaging or Nuclear Technology; or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Radiologic Sciences, Medical Laboratory Science, Health Sciences, or Health Informatics and Information Management.
School of Population Health, three graduates, Master of Biostatistics and Data Science.
Dr. Mike Ryan, professor of physiology and biophysics and associate dean of the School of Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences, was recognized with the 2018 Regions TEACH Prize, given to the person who most represents the highest qualities of the Medical Center's academic faculty.
The six students who received top honors were:
Ashli Fitzpatrick, Waller S. Leathers Award for the medical student with the highest academic average for four years;
Mary Reynolds, Wallace V. Mann Jr. Award for the dental student with the highest academic average for four years;
Trinity Brown, Christine L. Oglevee Memorial Award for the outstanding School of Nursing baccalaureate graduate;
Ben Shannon, Richard N. Graves Award for the registered nurse deemed most outstanding by the faculty in clinical and overall performance;
Aurlivia Bibbs, Dr. Virginia Stansel Tolbert award for the student with the highest academic average in the School of Health Related Professions.
Edgar Meyer, Robert A. Mahaffey Jr. Memorial Award to recognize exceptional research potential of young investigators.