Sen. Hutchison and Dr. Beutler address honorees at medical school, graduate school commencement exercises

By Lin Lofley

U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and Nobel laureate Dr. Bruce Beutler, Director of the Center for the Genetics of Host Defense, delivered the 2012 commencement addresses to the graduating classes of UT Southwestern Medical School and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, respectively.

Speaking to the medical school’s 227 graduating seniors on June 1, Sen. Hutchison, who will retire at the end of 2012, commended the group: “You have fulfilled your parents’ dreams. Now they will be able to say ‘My child, the doctor.’

“My hope for you is a career that combines an understanding of the past and a vision for the future.”

Graduation ceremony for the 2012 graduating class of UT Southwestern Medical School.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern Medical Center, told attendees at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center that among 2012 graduates would be the 10,000th recipient of a medical degree from the institution.

The physician’s oath was administered by Dr. Richard Snyder, a member of the UT Southwestern Class of 1987 and President of the Dallas County Medical Society.

Graduation marshals for the medical school were Dr. Dennis Burns, Professor of Pathology; Dr. Daniel Foster, Professor of Internal Medicine; Dr. Irwin Kerber, Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Dr. Angela Mihalic, Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Associate Professor of Pediatrics; Dr. Hari Raja, Professor of Internal Medicine; and Dr. James Wagner, Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Associate Professor of Internal Medicine.

Linda Wertheimer Hart, Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Hart Group Inc., and a trustee of Southwestern Medical Foundation, presented the foundation’s annual Ho Din Award – the top award given to a graduating medical student – to Dr. Thomas F. Heyne.

Speaking on May 31 to the 122 members of the 2012 class of the graduate school, Dr. Beutler drew on his experience in medicine and science to offer members of the class reasons they should be both happy and excited about the future. Commencement exercises were held in the Tom and Lula Gooch Auditorium on the South Campus.

Dr. Beutler, who shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, completed his residency at UT Southwestern in 1983. Three years later, he became one of UT Southwestern’s first Howard Hughes Medical Investigators.

In 1993 Dr. Beutler began the line of research that led to his discovery of how the innate immune system recognizes and responds to infection, for which he earned the Nobel Prize.

Graduate school marshals included Dr. Mark Lehrman, Professor of Pharmacology; Dr. Stuart Ravnik, Assistant Professor of Cell Biology and Assistant Dean of the Graduate School; Dr. Nancy Street, Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Associate Dean of the Graduate School; and Dr. Andrew Zinn, Professor of Internal Medicine and Associate Dean for the Medical Scientist Training Program.


Dr. Beutler holds the Raymond and Ellie Willie Distinguished Chair in Cancer Research, in Honor of Laverne and Raymond Willie Sr., and is a Regental Professor.

Dr. Burns holds the Jane B. and Edwin P. Jenevein, M.D., Chair in Pathology.

Dr. Foster holds the John Denis McGarry, Ph.D., Distinguished Chair in Diabetes and Metabolic Research.

Dr. Podolsky holds the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery Jr., M.D., Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science.