Saluting the Class of 2024, the Next Generation of Leaders

Dear Colleagues,

As the academic year comes to a close, we want to express our admiration and appreciation not only for our brilliant graduates but for every member of the CUIMC community. Commencement is a time to recognize the determination, self-discovery, and emotional fortitude required to complete the rigorous courses of study that will be certified with diplomas this week. Participating in these ceremonies as your deans is a great source of joy and pride for us. In this year of significant institutional challenges, we are ever mindful that the attributes possessed by our graduates also describe the classmates, dedicated faculty and staff, and devoted loved ones, from near and far, who have brought the Class of 2024 to this moment of celebration and reflection. We thank each and every one of you for your essential contributions.

In the face of this past year’s devastating world events and strife on our own campus, we are sustained by a bedrock certainty in the importance of the work we do here. Binding us together is a shared belief in the power of human ingenuity and compassion to alleviate suffering and restore health. We are a group uniquely motivated by empathy and optimism. These traits are the source of our strength and effectiveness as health professionals, just as much as our technical skill. The training as doctors, nurses, dentists, scientists, public health and other health professionals that we will celebrate this week is married to a deep sense of humanity. This is how we heal individual patients and society at large, and it is why we are able to approach the future with confidence.

This is not to minimize the serious societal challenges before us. The responsibility of taking on difficult and important work has been the mandate for countless previous generations of CUIMC graduates and the class of 2024 is no different. The urgent projects before us are profound: conflict and violence around the world; the health impacts of climate change; the specter of widespread infectious disease; a troubling rise in public mistrust of science; shortages of health professionals, especially nurses and those in public health; and persistent health inequities in northern Manhattan and across the nation and the world. The graduates we honor this week, the next generation of leaders, are ready, willing and able to meet these challenges, of this much we are certain. We could not be more excited to witness all they will accomplish in the future.

The Class Day ceremonies that the four of us, respectively, will lead this week carry a special poignancy and meaning this year. The Class of 2024 has faced more than its fair share of challenges. We are committed to making these celebrations all they should be for our graduates, their friends and their families from near and far. With a stellar cast of Class Day speakers including Dr. Anthony Fauci (VP&S), director of the NIH Dr. Monica Bertagnolli (Public Health), president of the New York Academy of Medicine Dr. Ann Elizabeth Kurth (Nursing), and former director of the National Health Service Corps for New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands Dr. James A. Lipton (Dental), we have much to look forward to. We can’t wait to see you all at our ceremonies this week.


Katrina Armstrong, MD
Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons
Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences, Columbia University

Lorraine Frazier, PhD, RN
Dean, School of Nursing

Linda P. Fried, MD, MPH
Dean, Mailman School of Public Health

Roseanna Graham, DDS, PhD
Interim Dean, College of Dental Medicine