An abundance of joy, hugs and tears filled Warriner Hall's Plachta Auditorium on May 7 as the first class at Central Michigan University's
College of Medicine officially became doctors.
They leave not only with medical degrees, but also with a spirit of family and the college's overriding philosophy of serving the underserved.
"This is a big day for CMU," said Dr. George Kikano, dean of the College of Medicine. "Hopefully they'll carry the CMU flag and be ambassadors for CMU throughout their careers."
As the med school's inaugural class, the 62 students had the opportunity to help sculpt what was an untried program in 2013.
"They had a lot of input in the program, so now we have a strong foundation to build on as we go," Kikano said.
In March, CMU's final-year med students, and their counterparts from all over the nation, vied for coveted residency programs — all on the same day. Everyone in CMU's class scored a residency assignment, with 47 percent of them landing residencies in Michigan.
As they put in four years of hard work toward a goal that for many began in childhood, med school graduation seemed a long way off. When the day came, many still couldn't believe it.
Swapna Gudipati, a Saginaw resident who will start an internal medicine residency at
Loyola Medical Center near Chicago, called commencement "a magical moment."
"It's surreal," she said. "It's been more than four years. It's been a lifetime of trying to achieve this goal."
Gudiparti said being part of the college's inaugural class was "an incredible experience" and led the students to form strong bonds with the faculty — and each other.
Matthew Schloop, of Lowell, Michigan, who will start a residency at
Beaumont Health System in Royal Oak, said, "It was a small class, so we got to know each other really well."
Joining him at Beaumont will be med school classmate — and the woman he married about a week before commencement — Alyssa Stoner.
The College of Medicine, established in 2010, has a mission to improve access to high-quality health care in Michigan emphasizing rural and medically underserved regions, and to address an anticipated shortage of 4,000 to 6,000 physicians in Michigan by 2020.