May 07, 2020

Medical School to stream virtual graduation ceremony on May 15

UMMS will stream the festivities on the Michigan Medicine YouTube channel at 3 p.m. EDT, but the community can begin celebrating now at

UMMS Commencement 2020

It is a mid-May tradition for the University of Michigan Medical School to celebrate its class of graduating seniors with a rousing ceremony in Hill Auditorium. The historic venue is temporarily closed, however; shuttered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of gathering there, to officially become doctors and enter their new profession, the 173 members of the graduating Class of 2020 will gather with loved ones around their mobile phones, monitors, laptops and screens to participate in a virtual Michigan Medical School commencement ceremony.

The online ceremony will feature remarks from the honored speaker, Dr. Regina Benjamin, the 18th surgeon general of the United States; student speaker Josh Kurtz; and Dr. William Peterson, a faculty member chosen by the class as the Senior Award recipient. In addition, University and Medical School leadership will deliver remarks, and also will guide graduates through many of the traditional segments of the ceremony, including an official reading of each student’s name, and recitation of the Hippocratic Oath.

The Medical School will stream the festivities on the Michigan Medicine YouTube channel at 3 p.m. EDT on May 15, but the community can begin celebrating now through the Commencement 2020 website at, which allows graduates, families, friends, faculty and staff to post their messages of thanks, congratulations and well wishes. Community members can also begin sharing messages on their Twitter and public Instagram accounts by using the hashtag #GoBlueMD.

“We offer best wishes to our graduates as they go forth to represent the University of Michigan with distinction and class,” says Marschall S. Runge, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for medical affairs, dean of the Medical School, and CEO of Michigan Medicine. “Our students are entering residency at a time when paradigms will change, new innovations will be needed, and forward thinking will be a game changer. We feel strongly that our new curriculum has successfully prepared them to be the leaders and change agents that our health care system needs, now and in the future.”

Commencement day caps a two-week celebration of the Class of 2020, which began May 4 with a daily sharing of the Graduation Awards recipients on the Medical School’s social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as the Medical School website.

The graduates will be remembered fondly, not only for their achievements, but also for their perseverance during this challenging time in the school’s history. They have demonstrated outstanding leadership during the pandemic, as many have volunteered through M-Response Corps to help in any way they can.

“This class will forever remember this time in their educational career,” says Rajesh S. Mangrulkar, M.D., associate dean for medical student education and the Marguerite S. Roll Professor of Medical Education. “We will also always remember them as the class who demonstrated resiliency and commitment during this important moment in our nation’s history.”

There are many other notable accomplishments for this year’s senior medical students:

  • Nearly 68 percent of the graduating class began their journey through medical school in 2016, which means that they experienced a majority of the elements of the school’s new curriculum. The curriculum’s key elements include Trunk, Branches, Paths of Excellence, Leadership Development, Impact Capstones and increased opportunities for students to obtain dual degrees.
  • U-M also offers students the chance to choose a scholarly concentration, such as health policy or global health, where they can focus on a path that interests them during their first few months of medical school. The Paths of Excellence provides students with eight interdisciplinary options to help them gain knowledge and skills that are not traditionally found in their required curriculum. Almost 72 percent of the  graduating students completed a Path of Excellence, while 126 students completed a Capstone for Impact (CFI) Project. An index of summaries for these impact projects can be found here.
  • The M3 and M4 years, collectively known as the Branches, prepare students for the future by focusing on making meaningful impact in the areas that matter to them the most. Almost 88 percent of this year’s graduating class completed a Branch, which provided them with more time and space for professional exploration electives, clinical training, residency preparation, capstone projects and leadership development.
  • A total of 39 students this year will graduate with both a medical degree from U-M and an advanced degree in another field from graduate programs at U-M, Cambridge University, Harvard and elsewhere. These degrees include Ph.D.s as part of U-M’s prestigious Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), or master’s degrees in public health, clinical research, business or a residency program in oral and maxillofacial surgery.
  • The graduates will pursue their training near and far, entering residency programs in 23 states across the country.  35.2 percent of the students will stay in Michigan for the next level of their training, including 22 percent who will continue their education at Michigan Medicine.
  • An outstanding 98.2 percent of Michigan Medical School students matched this year, exceeding the national average of 93.7 percent.

For more information on Commencement, visit: