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Commencement 2024

“Never underestimate your ability to facilitate profound positive changes.” Commencement ceremonies celebrate the graduating Class of 2024.

Video: Huy Mach/Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

Washington University School of Medicine graduates, faculty, family and friends celebrated Commencement with recognition and hooding ceremonies on May 10, 12 and 13, 2024.

Scroll below for coverage of School of Medicine Commencement ceremonies, or jump to the ceremony for graduates of:

Class Acts 2024: Caellagh Catley

“I chose to go into medicine because I want to help people,” says MD Class of 2024 graduate Caellagh Catley. “But I can’t conscientiously do that without considering how the environmental impact of my work may harm others.” Among Catley’s research projects as a WashU Medicine student was work that helped reduce carbon emissions of the hospital’s operating rooms by over 60%.

Read Caellagh’s story

All-University Ceremony

Monday, May 13, 2024, 9 a.m. | Francis Olympic Field – Danforth Campus
All-University Commencement
Universitywide Commencement livestream and details »

Keynote SpeakerJennifer Coolidge, award-winning actor known for her numerous iconic roles in film and on television; Coolidge received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts during the ceremony.

Respect the need to be something very odd, not what is expected. Get to know yourself. Accept who you are, and love that person because this is the moment. You already are everything you need to be.

Jennifer Coolidge
WashU Commencement Speaker

Andrew C. Chan, MD, PhD, received an honorary Doctor of Medicine during the WashU Commencement ceremony on Monday, May 13, 2024. Now the senior vice president of research-biology at Genentech, Chan is a WashU alum and former faculty member, physician and researcher.

Read the full story:
Coolidge shares message of self-acceptance at WashU Commencement »

Photos by Matt Miller and Washington University. Click to enlarge.

MD Ceremony

Sunday, May 12, 2024, 4 p.m. | The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis
Commencement Recognition Ceremony
MD Commencement program (PDF) »
MD livestream recording »

Keynote Speaker: Dean Schillinger, MD, primary care physician, scientist, author and public health advocate widely recognized as an expert in health communication and for work related to improving the health of marginalized populations.

At the MD Commencement ceremony Sunday evening, bagpipes, flashing cameras and smiling faces ushered in the graduating Class of 2024 at the Ritz-Carlton in Clayton, Mo. Most in the class entered medical school during a global pandemic and with the launch of the Gateway Curriculum, the first overhaul of the school’s program of studies in more than two decades.

Amal Taylor, MD, MPH, shakes hands with Will R. Ross, MD, MPH, associate dean for diversity and professor of medicine. Taylor will go to Yale-New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut, for residency training in internal medicine-primary care. Photo: Matt Miller

David H. Perlmutter, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs, the George and Carol Bauer Dean of the School of Medicine and the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor, praised the class for its resilience, hard work and commitment tomedicine and science. “Medicine has changed, and medicine will continue to change,” he said. “Each generation figures out how to drive this vocation toward the best version of itself and, from what I know about this class, you will find a way to bring your own talents to its challenges. But I want to point out what hasn’t changed — what will never change: that we have all chosen a profession that has imperfection and failure at its very core. Human bodies fail, and they suffer, and they hurt each other, and we are the ones charged with fixing them, comforting them and figuring out ways to get them back on their feet, ways to help them live as long and as healthfully as possible.”

David H. Perlmutter, MD, addresses the MD Class of 2024. Perlmutter is executive vice chancellor for medical affairs, the George and Carol Bauer Dean of the School of Medicine and the Spencer T. and Ann W. Olin Distinguished Professor.

Urgent public health threats of health inequities caused by racism are another issue physicians must address, according to the keynote speaker, Dean Schillinger, MD, a general internist, primary care physician and a professor of medicine at University of California, San Francisco. Food and housing insecurity, crowded living conditions, poor working conditions, incarceration and mistrust in medicine are serious public health threats, said Schillinger, an expert in public health and policy.

Tzvia Pinkhasov, MD, PhD, receives her doctoral hood from Wayne Yokoyama, MD, Medical Scientist Training Program director and professor of medicine and of pathology and immunology. Pinkhasov will go to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia for residency training in diagnostic radiology/research track. Photo: Matt Miller

He advised graduates to “purposefully and consistently elicit and attend to your patients’ stories, breaking down the walls that divide us and opening up more doors to see into and identify with each other’s real lives and experiences. … You should tell these stories to others inside and outside your circles, creating opportunities for more mutual understanding, empathy and positive change. These narrative acts will help us to feel more connected to each other. And in so doing, we will become more generous, more inclusive and more healing in how we relate to each other as individuals and communities, and in how we craft health and social policy for us all.”

Dean Schillinger, MD, professor of medicine at University of California, San Francisco, delivers the keynote address to the WashU Medicine MD Class of 2024.

Photos by Matt Miller. Click to enlarge.

Audiology & Communication Sciences

Monday, May 13, 2024, 1:30 p.m. | Eric P. Newman Education Center
Commencement Recognition Ceremony
PACS Commencement program (PDF) »
PACS livestream recording »

Biology & Biological Sciences

Friday, May 10, 2024, 9:30 a.m. | The 560 Music Center
Hooding & Recognition Ceremony
DBBS Commencement program (PDF) »
DBBS livestream recording »

Keynote Speaker: Vipula “Vi” Shukla, PhD, senior program officer for agriculture at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; advocate for plant and agricultural science, and champion of the idea that science and technology have the power to change people’s lives for the better.

No matter what path you take, your work matters. It matters to you and your loved ones, and it also matters to the bigger world that you’re a part of. … Recognize your privilege. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Make joy a daily part of your work. And practice optimism to help you find your purpose.

Vipula “Vi” Shukla, PhD
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
DBBS Commencement Speaker

Click photos to enlarge.

Joint Master’s Programs

Friday, May 10, 2024, 4 p.m. | Eric P. Newman Education Center
Commencement & Recognition Ceremony for master’s programs in Applied Health Behavior Research, Data Science and Biostatistics, Clinical Investigation, Genetic Counseling, Medical Physics, Population Health Sciences, and Predoctoral Clinical Research (TL1).
Joint Master’s Commencement program (PDF) »

Keynote Speaker: Matifadza Hlatshwayo Davis, MD, MPH, director of health for the city of St. Louis, and internationally recognized infectious diseases physician and expert on public health and health equity.

Click photos to enlarge.

Occupational Therapy

Monday, May 13, 2024, 1 p.m. | Sheldon Concert Hall
Diploma Ceremony
OT livestream recording »

Keynote Speaker: Ian Rice, PhD, MS OT, director of Diversity Equity Inclusion / Special Projects, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Remember this passion right now, specifically what attracted you to this point. Let that guide you. Never underestimate your ability to facilitate profound positive changes in the lives of the people you touch. … We as occupational therapists are uniquely positioned to intervene and inform clinical practice with one hand on the evidence and another on the whole person. My OT training has helped me better advocate for solutions, and it will serve you in whatever form of practice you seek.

Ian Rice, PhD, MS OT
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
OT Commencement Speaker

Ian Rice, PhD, MS OT, delivers the keynote address to the WashU Medicine OT Class of 2024. An alum of the WashU occupational therapy program (MSOT ’02), Rice is the director of diversity, equity, and inclusion/special projects in the Department of Kinesiology and Community Health in the College of Applied Health Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign.


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Physical Therapy

Monday, May 13, 2024, 1:30 p.m. | Khorassan Ballroom, The Chase Park Plaza
Diploma Distribution & Hooding Ceremony
PT livestream recording »

Faculty Speaker: Suzanne L. Cornbleet, PT, DPT, associate professor of physical therapy and of orthopedic surgery, Washington University School of Medicine

Be open to wherever your path leads you. Always remember your why. And be true to yourself and trust your instincts. Always stay aligned with your values, and rely on your moral compass. If you do this when it comes to the most difficult decisions, you will certainly choose the right path for you.

Suzanne L. Cornbleet, PT, DPT
Washington University School of Medicine
PT Commencement Speaker