Last week, I had the pleasure of both participating in the planning of our upcoming commencement ceremonies and meeting with our outstanding alumni. For information about commencement, take a look at the University webpage. This is the first year that ALL faculty are invited to both the university-wide event and the School of Medicine MD events. Both will be held at Francis Field. OT, PT, DBBS, and the master’s programs have events leading into commencement and afterward as well. We have exciting speakers lined up and a wonderful series of events planned. I hope to see you there!
As for the alumni, we welcomed back several class years for the reunion, given the impact of COVID. I had the pleasure of speaking about the Gateway Curriculum, and the synergistic impact of the curriculum and scholarships on our student body. My slides are available here for anyone with an interest. I also had the pleasure of seeing several of our amazing faculty and alumni (some who are both) receive recognition for their outstanding contributions to medicine, the school and science. It was so wonderful to see the interest of our alumni in what we are doing educationally, clinically and scientifically—and there is so much to be proud of.
I had a dear friend who each year, as the students, residents and fellows moved to their next phase of training or professional development quoted one or more Irish toasts (she was Irish). I would love to continue this legacy (although will broaden across multiple cultures) and have chosen the following Irish toast this year for all our graduates and those transitioning to new roles in honor of my friend and mentor, Maureen Garrity: “May you get all your wishes but one, so you always have something to strive for.”
While some may hope for a lack of struggle in life, I am now fairly convinced that life is all about the struggle. It is in the struggle that we grow. It is in the struggle that we learn. It is in the struggle that we hope for more, and ultimately achieve more. Each of our students, residents, fellows, faculty and staff have struggled these last few years. We have grown, changed, developed, as people, as teams, and as an organization. We have been imperfect, and we have been glorious. Nevertheless, we have all grown- better, stronger, more capable. We have learned, developed, and changed. We have seen different ways of doing things and different ways of being. We have and continue to strive for more—for a better future for ourselves, our learners, our patients, our community, our Wash U.
While we do not know that the next struggle will be, I think we all know that there will be one. What I hope for our graduates and alumni, for our current trainees, and for our faculty and staff, is that we have provided you with the knowledge, attitudes, skills, resilience and support needed to face those struggles, overcome them, and yet always have something to strive for. In addition, while you continue in the struggle, I wish you the following:
“For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise, and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song, and an answer for each prayer.” (Irish Prayer)