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Six NEOMED graduates stand in their commencement robes outside of E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall.

NEOMED celebrates 275 new graduates at commencement ceremony

Northeast Ohio Medical University returned to E.J. Thomas Hall in Akron Saturday, May 6, 2023, for its 43rd Commencement ceremony. It was a day filled with joy and an array of emotions as the 275 students crossed the stage to receive their M.D., Pharm.D. and other degrees to enter the health professions.

Donald Malone, M.D., a NEOMED alumnus from the Class of 1985, addressed the graduates as keynote speaker. Dr. Malone serves as the president of the Cleveland Clinic Ohio Hospitals and Family Health Centers, where he oversees the Clinic’s main campus, Ohio regional hospitals, family health centers and other ambulatory sites. Dr. Malone reminded graduates that while technology continues to have a larger role in the medical fields, the “human moments” make an enormous difference in the lives of patients.

“Patients often see you when they are highly anxious and at their most vulnerable,” Dr. Malone said. “You create these moments with them without even realizing it. I can’t begin to tell you how many patients will tell me they remember specific things that I said at their first appointment that may have been over 20 or 30 years ago. It becomes indelibly etched in their memory.”

NEOMED also honored two individuals with honorary degrees – Robert Klonk, a former chair of the University’s board of trustees, and Elisabeth Rosenthal, M.D., the current editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News.

Three graduates were honored with a military pinning ceremony, presented by NEOMED’s interim provost, Forrest Faison III, M.D., who served as the 38th surgeon general of the U.S. Navy.

The 275 graduates marked the largest overall class in NEOMED’s history. Of the 275 graduates, 144 received their M.D. from the College of Medicine, 87 received their Pharm.D. from the College of Pharmacy, while the College of Graduate Studies conferred 47 degrees (including three dual degrees) and four certificates. It was the largest class in the College of Graduate Studies history, which has recently added anesthesiologist assistant and global health programs.