Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine

OUWB Class of 2023 graduates; commencement ceremony emphasizes humanity, kindness

Humanity and kindness took center stage alongside Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine’s Class of 2023 on Friday — when the school’s ninth class celebrated officially being called doctors for the first time.

About 500 people attended the school’s 2023 commencement ceremony held at Oakland University’s O’rena. Attendees watched 110 graduates become OUWB’s newest alumni.

Among those who spoke were Ben Schwartz, M.D., MHCM, president, Corewell Health East; Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D., president, Oakland University; and Duane Mezwa, M.D., Stephan Sharf Dean, OUWB.

Before congratulating the Class of 2023, Mezwa recalled recently reading about the “8 Rules of Life” on social media, and noted his favorite: be kind.

“Sometimes we are too hard on ourselves. Sometimes we are too hard on each other,” he said. “Imagine if we reminded ourselves and others of our potential, our courage, and our strength.”

“Encourage yourself and encourage a friend, the world will be a better place,” he added.

“Kindness is contagious. Compassion is contagious.”

Schwartz delivered the keynote address. He said he was acting as “the voice of over 30,000 health care providers that ultimately share in celebration” of the graduation of the Class of 2023.

He credited the members of the class for successfully completing their entire medical school experience during the COVID-19 pandemic, and called it an “amazing accomplishment.”

His primary message was about the importance of humanity in health care, despite advances in technology.

“I implore you — for your patients, for your colleagues, for your team members — to be in the moment with the practice of humanity that OUWB has emphasized over the last four years,” he said.

Schwartz also urged the new physicians to do what they can to help make OUWB a “shining example” of what it means to learn to be a doctor.

Other speakers at the event were Robert Schostak, chair, Oakland University Board of Trustees, Berkley Browne, Ph.D., associate dean for Student Affairs, Kala Seawright, M.D., ’21, OUWB, (who served as alumni speaker), and Shivam Patel, M.D., who spoke on behalf of the Class of 2023.

Patel also talked about the importance of humanity, and how some of the most valuable lessons he learned while a student at OUWB had nothing to do with a lecture or test.

“We may not realize it at the time, (but) being intentional with even the small conversations we share in passing, and having a willingness to recognize that we will always have room to grow can make the biggest difference in our training and careers,” he said.

“Because the way we treat each other and those around us will always be the most important legacy we leave behind,” he added.

(Only partial stories are posted here with hopes to provide a brief overview and introduction to my most recent work. The full version of this story may be found on the OUWB site here.)

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