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Milestone moment

Congressman to present keynote address at Medical School graduation; molecular geneticist to speak at Graduate School commencement

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The UT Southwestern community is proud of the outstanding accomplishments of this year’s graduating students from the UTSW Medical School and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. These graduates will soon begin their careers in medicine at a time when the opportunities to advance the field are immense.

A commencement recognizing the Medical School’s 228 graduates will be held at 11 a.m., Wednesday, May 8 in the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. On Thursday, May 16, Graduate School students will receive their degrees in the Tom and Lula Gooch Auditorium at a 7 p.m. commencement.

Each event will be available to watch live online and will be recorded for later viewing. Leaders from both schools said students were challenged in many ways during the COVID-19 pandemic, but with perseverance, creativity, and adaptability fueling their efforts, they achieved and exceeded their goals.

“It has been an honor and joy to support the Class of 2024 through their medical education journey,” said Angela Mihalic, M.D., Dean of Medical Students, Associate Dean of Student Affairs, and Professor of Pediatrics. “This is a remarkable class that has overcome the challenge of beginning medical school at the height of the pandemic in a completely virtual environment. Their dedication to clinical training, patients, and community over the past four years is impressive, and we are thrilled to celebrate this important milestone with them. We have no doubt that they are ready to face the challenges ahead and will use the lessons learned to improve the health and well-being of countless patients in the future.”

headshot of darkhaired Asian man in blue blazer and light blue tie Dr. Andrew Lee
W. P. Andrew Lee, M.D.

“The Class of 2024 has answered the call to serve with great passion and confidence in the future of medicine,” added W. P. Andrew Lee, M.D., Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Provost, and Dean of the Medical School. “Our graduates have revealed themselves through their selflessness, resilience, and innovation. We are inspired by their compassionate patient care, and I have no doubt that they will make an extraordinary difference in the world.”

“Students receiving degrees from the Graduate School will embark on a wide range of science-related careers,” said Andrew Zinn, M.D., Ph.D., Dean of the Graduate School. “Our Clinical Psychology graduates will become licensed psychologists, some of whom will conduct research and practice in academic settings. Our Division of Basic Science graduates will work in a variety of areas, including academia, pharmaceutic and biotechnology industries, consulting, science policy and advocacy, and scientific communication. Wherever they end up, they will carry the name and prestige of UT Southwestern Graduate School with them.”

headshot of  Dr. Andrew Zinn grey haired man in grey blazer and blue tie
Andrew Zinn, M.D., Ph.D.

The Medical School Class of 2024 includes 13 students in the Perot Family Scholars Medical Scientist Training Program who are also earning a Ph.D.; 23 students receiving M.D./M.P.H. degrees; 18 graduating with an M.D. with Distinction; and 16 students who completed yearlong research fellowships. The class is composed of nine professional musicians; 18 students who speak three or more languages; nine professional athletes, including an Olympian who played for the Nigerian women’s basketball team; one American Idol contestant who received the “golden ticket”; and a professionally trained ballerina.

Daniel K. Podolsky, M.D., President of UT Southwestern, will confer degrees on the Medical School graduates, followed by a presentation of the graduates by Dr. Lee. Kathleen M. Gibson, past President and CEO of Southwestern Medical Foundation, will confer the Ho Din Award, the highest honor bestowed on a UTSW medical student.

headshot of  Dr. Michael Burgess grey haired man in black blazer and red tie with U.S. flag to the left in background
U.S. Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D.

U.S. Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D., will deliver the keynote address for the Medical School. After practicing medicine for nearly three decades in North Texas, Dr. Burgess was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2003. Since then, he has served Texas’ 26th District in Cooke, Denton, Wise, and Tarrant counties.

Dr. Burgess currently serves the U.S. House on its Energy and Commerce, Rules, and Budget Committees. Because of his medical background, he has been a strong advocate for health care legislation aimed at reducing medical care costs, improving choices, reforming liability laws to put patient needs first, and ensuring there are enough doctors to care for America’s patients and veterans.

He received his M.D. from UT Health Science Center at Houston and completed his residency at Parkland Memorial Hospital. He also earned a master’s degree in medical management from UT Dallas and in May 2009 was awarded an honorary doctorate of public service from the University of North Texas Health Science Center.

Russell DeBose-Boyd, Ph.D., Professor of Molecular Genetics, will be the commencement speaker for the Graduate School. His long-standing research on the key mechanism necessary for cholesterol control could eventually lead to drugs that work significantly better than statins to protect heart health.

headshot of  Russell DeBose-Boyd black doctor in white coat against glass atrium background
Russell DeBose-Boyd, Ph.D.

Dr. DeBose-Boyd earned his B.S. in chemistry from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and his Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Following defense of his Ph.D. thesis in 1998, he joined the laboratory of UTSW Nobel Laureates Joseph L. Goldstein, M.D., and Michael S. Brown, M.D., as a postdoctoral fellow. In 2003, he became a member of the Molecular Genetics faculty.

Last year, Dr. DeBose-Boyd was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and more recently was awarded the Hill Prize in Biological Sciences from the Texas Academy of Medicine, Engineering, Science and Technology for his cholesterol research. Earlier in his career, he received an Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association in 2005 and was appointed a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Early Career Scientist in 2009.

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