Commencement 2019 Ceremony

In a ceremony held on the Simmons Quad, the School of Public Health celebrated the achievements of 66 undergraduates, 99 Master’s graduates, and 9 doctoral graduates. Of the public health undergraduates presented with diplomas on Sunday, nearly half, 46 percent, were honors graduates. This year also saw the largest ever group of MPH graduates, at 62.

In her address to the gathered graduates and their families and friends, Dean Bess Marcus extolled the tremendous achievements of public health over the last century—from seat belts and sun screen, to bicycle helmets—but she warned of the challenges ahead facing today’s graduates.

“The opioid crisis is ongoing, claiming as many as 200 lives daily in the United States alone,” she said. “Climate change continues to threaten populations due to extreme weather, land loss, drought, and migration. Stress, chronic depression, and anxiety are major sources of widespread disability, and the number of Americans aged 65 and older is projected to escalate from 46 million today to over 98 million by 2060. Fortunately, I know our graduates are equipped to tackle these challenges head on.”

She described the “uniquely Brown” way of learning public health, in which students are armed with skills and theory and encouraged to follow their own interests, gaining real world experiences along the way that foster a commitment to health as a human right.

“You will bring your passion, discipline, intelligence, and compassion to bear on today’s most urgent health challenges while improving health equity,” Dean Marcus said. “I ask everyone to please join me in congratulating all of today’s graduates on their wonderful achievement!”

Nine particular students received the honor of being recognized with public health awards at Sunday’s ceremony. The undergraduate award winners for excellence in public health honors thesis were: Elizabeth Carlson, Drew Hawkinson, Molly McCarthy, and Reagan Menz. Georgiana McTigue received the undergraduate award for outstanding community service. There were also four graduate award winners. The Master’s student public health impact award winners were Meghan Peterson, Isabel Blalock, and Victoria Long. The Doctoral student public health impact award winner was Sarah Gordon. Learn more about all of these exceptional public health award winners.

The ceremony closed with thanks to the assembled faculty and congratulations to all. “It is such a glorious day to acknowledge the many achievements of these amazing and talented graduates,” Dean Marcus said, “and to help launch them on their paths to becoming leaders in improving population health.”

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