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Commencement Week 2016
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MCOM Alumni Society Annual Meeting

Commencement week at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine was an exciting one! At the MCOM Alumni Society Annual Meeting on April 20th, 33 alumni and guests gathered for the election of new Officers and 4 new Directors:

Chair: Sion “Bill” Carter, MD ’87,

Vice Chair: Aman Bhullar, MD ’07

Secretary/Treasurer: Nishit Patel, MD ’10

Directors: Corey Howard, MD ’90; Daniel Kapp, MD ’98; Jane Messina, MD ’88; and Kerry Thomas, MD ’08. 

Nakul Batra, the newly elected MCOM Student Council President, will also serve as the student voting member on the MCOM Alumni Society Board

 Alumni were excited to hear from MCOM leadership: Charles Lockwood, MD, MHCM, Senior Vice President, USF Health and Dean, Morsani College of Medicine, Bryan Bognar, MD, Vice Dean for Educational Affairs, Morsani College of Medicine and Kira Zwygart, MD ’98, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Morsani College of Medicine. 

Each of the six alumni society committees shared updates about recent accomplishments and plans for upcoming programs and events. To learn more about these Committees and how to get involved, click here.  

 Valerie Riddle, MD ’89, now Immediate Past Chair, was acknowledged for her years of service and dedication to the Alumni Society. 


There was an overwhelming sense of pride expressed in how far the Alumni Society has come in recent years and excitement about things to come.  

Commencement Dinner and Distinguished Physician Alumnus Award Presentation

Following the meeting, alumni and guests attended the Commencement Dinner. 

At this dinner in celebration of the Class of 2016, Dean Lockwood acknowledged all alumni in attendance asking them to stand and be recognized.  In addition to our Board members, there were alumni scattered throughout the room and they all received an appreciative round of applause.

James Gern, MD ’81 was especially acknowledged with the 2016 Distinguished Physician Alumnus Award.  Aman Bhullar, M.D. ’07, Chair of the Awards & Recognition Committee and new Vice Chair of the Alumni Society Board co-presented that award with Dr. Lockwood.  To learn more about Dr. Gern click here.

The Morsani College of Medicine Alumni Society established an award for a senior medical student who excels academically and exhibits outstanding service to the school during his or her enrollment. The first award was presented in 1982 and was named for Luther McEachern in 1986 in memory of a member of the 1974 charter class that was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident in 1985.  Valerie Riddle, MD ’89 was pleased to honor the memory of Dr. McEachern and congratulate this year’s recipient - Matthew Wollenschlaeger.

Commencement Ceremony

The following afternoon at the MD Class of 2016 Commencement Ceremony, we also had lots of alumni participation!

The new MCOM Alumni Society Board, Chair – Sion “Bill” Carter, MD ’87 and Immediate Past Chair Valerie Riddle, MD ’89 served as the Alumni/Faculty Marshals and led alumni and faculty into the auditorium for the ceremony. 

8 Alumni Society Board members and 8 alumni faculty members participated in the Alumni and Faculty Path of Honor, a tradition in which alumni and faculty line the aisles of the auditorium and congratulate our new graduates.

In addition, 9 alumni - Carrie Bonaroti, MD ’89; Ronald Brown, MD ’81; Shawn Palmeri, MD ’15; Jason Patel, MD ’15; Sonali Ranjit, MD ’13; Corey Reeves, MD ’13; Christina Shamas, MD ’07; Julie Shamas, MD ’98; and Shamol Williams, MD ’13 - participated in the graduation ceremony as guest hooders - a tradition in which hooding a new graduate can be done by a physician family member. 

Our Distinguished Physician Alumnus Award recipient, James Gern, M.D. ’81 was recognized on stage at graduation and presented the Commencement Address.  He and his wife, Yvonne, who came in from Wisconsin were honored to be part of the festivities.  To read more about the Commencement Ceremony click here.

USF Morsani College of Medicine Alumni Society
12901 Bruce B. Downs Blvd, MDC 70, Tampa, FL 33612
Phone: 813-974-1470 I Fax: 813-974-2936

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