UH medical grads urged to serve Isles
By John Windrow
Advertiser Staff Writer
The 58 new graduates of the John A. Burns School of Medicine marched into their convocation yesterday amid regal pomp and ceremony, lei, soulful violin music, camera flashes, Hawaiian chants and the muted whimpering of hushed babies.
It was a big day all around for the class of 2010 and their families and for the UH Medical School, which had a record 12 Native Hawaiian graduates.
A standing-room-only crowd at the Hilton Hawaiian Village's Tapa Ballroom watched as the graduates were told to never stop learning; to work relentlessly to better the lot of the less fortunate; to remember their classmates and their school, and the tremendous debt they owe to the state of Hawai'i but to also enjoy their lives and refresh their souls.
As the medical diplomas were handed out, Dr. Mary Ann Antonelli, director of student affairs, read what each graduate had written to the person he or she picked to take part in their special moment:
• "I would like to thank my parents for everything."
• "I thank the love of Christ."
• "I thank the aloha of the community."
• "Please forgive the four years of neurotic phone calls."
• "As long as I'm living, I'll be loving you, baby."
• "To my girls, we've been through it all and I couldn't have done it without you."
• "You da best."
• "You are my strength and backbone."
• "Thank you for enabling me to pursue my dreams."
• "I am forever grateful."
• "I will always love you to the moon and back."
• "You are the biggest and the warmest heart."
Dean Jerris Hedges spoke of the shortage of doctors in Hawai'i now at about 500 and expected to worsen and urged the new doctors to return when they had completed their training, wherever that might be.
"You are needed severely," he said. "Remember the great gift you have received from the people of Hawai'i."
As the thundering din from a lion dance at a wedding in the adjoining ballroom rattled the ceremony, the dean told them, "Don't forget to have a happy life."
After the ceremony, newly minted Dr. Jordan Lee, of 'Ewa Beach a Kameha- meha Schools graduate celebrated with his family.
Lee, president of the class of 2010, was also one of the 12 Native Hawaiian graduates.
"I think it's a milestone for the people of Hawai'i," he said. "Our class is a stepping stone for the next generation."
He will go to San Diego to continue his studies.
He said all the Native Hawaiian grads "are coming back to practice here and give back to the community."