Columbia VP&S Class of 2019 Graduates

232 Degrees Awarded at 2019 VP&S Graduation

On May 22, a festive crowd of graduating students and their families and friends gathered in the Armory in Washington Heights to celebrate the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S) Class of 2019. The ceremony honored 172 students who received MD degrees from VP&S and 60 students who received biomedical sciences PhD degrees from the Columbia’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The graduation address was delivered by Nancy Andrews, MD, PhD, the Nanaline H. Duke Professor of Pediatrics and former dean of Duke University School of Medicine and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Duke University.

“You need to have empathy for, and give your all to care for, people who are different from you," said Andrews, who stepped down as dean in 2017 after serving in the position for a decade. “Most likely you will take care of patients who are different in a constellation of ways—age, color, language, gender, sexuality, religion, financial security, politics, and even deeply held values. At a time when our country shows fractures along those lines, I think leadership means listening to, respecting, caring for, and caring about those who are different from you.” 

Columbia’s newest physicians will be able to put her words into practice when they begin their residencies after graduation. The most popular residencies for the Class of 2019 are internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, obstetrics & gynecology, ophthalmology, and dermatology.

The university-wide commencement ceremony at the Morningside campus included honors for VP&S alumnus Brenda Aiken, MD’81, assistant professor of clinical medicine at VP&S and director of medical services at Columbia Health, which provides health care to Columbia students on the Morningside campus. 

The VP&S graduation ceremony also honored these faculty members for their service and contributions to the medical school:

  • Argiris Efstratiadis, MD, PhD, the Higgins Professor Emeritus of Genetics and Development, VP&S Distinguished Service Award in Basic Science
  • Walter Franck, MD, professor emeritus of clinical medicine, VP&S Distinguished Service Award in Clinical Science
  • Serge Przedborski, MD, PhD, the Page and William Black Professor of Neurology (in Pathology and Cell Biology and Neuroscience), the Charles W. Bohmfalk Award for Pre-Clinical Years
  • Dara Matseoane-Peterssen, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics & gynecology at CUMC, the Charles W. Bohmfalk Award for Clinical Years
  • John Chabot, MD, the David V. Habif Professor of Surgery at CUMC, Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award
  • Megan Sykes, MD, the Michael J. Friedlander Professor of Medicine and professor of microbiology & immunology and surgical sciences (in surgery), Stevens Triennial Prize
  • Tuuli Lappalainen, PhD, assistant professor of systems biology, Doctor Harold and Golden Lamport Research Award in Basic Sciences
  • Krzysztof Kiryluk, MD, MS, an Irving Assistant Professor of Medicine, Doctor Harold and Golden Lamport Research Award in Clinical Sciences
  • Rachel J. Gordon, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at CUMC, Distinguished Teacher Award given by the Class of 2019

Read more about students in the Class of 2019.