Celebrating the Graduating Class of 2020
From 17,000+ MD and House Staff alumni, faculty, and staff-
We are so proud of you!
Notes of Congratulations
Congratulations to you, your loved ones and your families!! What an incredible achievement! Although we are not able to celebrate your accomplishments in the traditional ways we had before, I hope you will all pause to reflect on the tremendous contributions you have made through all of your hard work and know that the future of medicine is better because you are all a part of it. Thank you for dedicating your lives to service and innovation. I am excited to hear about and witness all of your many successes!!
Katherine Santosa, MD’12, MSCI ’18
Congratulations to the Class of 2020. We are incredibly proud of you. You all have excelled in many ways over the past 4 years; in your preclinical courses, on the wards, in research, doing community service, leading student government, studying how gender & racial bias can occur in education and how we can prevent bias, and actively participating in developing the Gateway Curriculum. Then COVID-19 came and you pivoted to step up your game in the battle against SARS-CoV-2. You made face shields, you did child care, you made masks, you answered occupational health calls, you did telehealth for patients at home with COVID, you made videos that brought joy and hope to us all. You have excelled in many so ways. I am incredibly proud of all of you and very grateful that you came here to WUSM. I wish you all the best in the next phase of your career. Best wishes and congratulations. Please stay in touch.
Vicky Fraser, MD
Current Faculty, Adolphus Busch Chair and Professor of Medicine
Many blessings to each of you on your graduations. May science and compassion show in your work.
Diana Prablek, MD, HS
Congratulations to the WUSM class of 2020! We need your energy, creativity, and compassion now more than ever. No doubt WashU has prepared you well. Remember that learning never ends, engage your mentors, and make the commitment to mentor others early and often! We are so very proud of you!
Shen Cai, MD/PhD ’11
Whether you know it yet or not, you have just completed one of the greatest milestones you will ever reach. WUMS will be diligent in keeping you connected to the school. They are very good at it. But I encourage all of you to start a process that will keep you in touch with each other for the rest of your lives. 45 of our class of 99 are still alive. Twelve of us had our 60th reunion last year. Remember the oath you have taken and promise each other to always value your years together at the finest of medical schools.
Ann Flipse, MD ’59
Congratulations! Graduating medical school is such an amazing accomplishment. Entering residency is exciting and intimidating and I imagine even more so with the current COVID-19 pandemic, but trust that you are well prepared and have the skills to succeed. It is ok to lean on those friends from medical school and the new ones during residency and your faculty mentors to help support you along the way.
Kari Wisinski, MD ’01
You never know what will be important so work hard, always honest and be kind.
Herb Abelson, MD ’66
Congratulations!! You should all be very proud of yourselves -as the director of a busy ICU I Can tell you we need all of you -particularly during these difficult times! I believe you are entering into one of the best careers possible!
Kelly Greene, MD ’87, HS ’89
Congratulations. May your hard work, manifested in your Wash U degree, carry you on to a lifetime of excitement, success, and personal contentment.
Timothy Loftus, MD ’06
To all the new WUMS graduates:
You are all so well prepared for a wonderfully satisfying career in medicine. Embrace all the challenges you will encounter and keep your intellectual curiosity. Congratulations on your commencement!
Howard Yerman, MD ’85
Congratulations Doctors of Medicine. You have worked very hard for this and you don’t need a graduation ceremony to celebrate this accomplishment. We celebrate it with you. You have attained something that should be celebrated and revered by all who know you and all persons who will get to know you in the future. You have accomplished something that no one can ever take away from you.
Charles Harmon, MD ’66
CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Graduating from WU is a huge accomplishment. You should be so proud of yourself and your achievement. The WU community at large is so proud of you.
Sending you all my best wishes for your health and happiness,
Linda Peterson, MD ’90
Warmest Congratulations! You are entering the most rewarding profession in the world at a time when your youth and dedication will bring in the bright future of our profession! Welcome! You have been trained by the best of the best! Continue that proud tradition of Wash U physicians!
Ernest Lewis, MD ’63
It’s nothing but a shame that you all will miss out on the traditional medical school graduation and I am so sorry about that. With this disappointment, I hope each of you has been able to find some positive opportunity along the way. Nonetheless, each of you is now launched into an exciting and wonderful future.
Good luck to all of you for the rest of your careers and the rest of your lives!
Jim Forsen, MD ’88, HS ’94
Congratulations! You all have bright futures ahead of you as doctors and scientists. It was a pleasure to work with those of you that I saw during your peds rotations. Best wishes!
Carlin Box, MD ’17
Congratulations! Very proud of all of you!
Elaine Chan, MD ’07
Dear Class of 2020 — I wish you all every success in your careers and in your lives. There are many difficult challenges before you, many of which our generation has laid at your feet. Take them up, conquer them, and leave your future generations a cleaner, safer world.
Best of everything !!
Robert Weiss, MD ’74
Congratulations! Please do not let the lack of a graduation ceremony take away from your sense of accomplishment. Graduating medical school is an honor and the beginning of what will be a rewarding career. The world is waiting for you.
Kelly Kriwanek Rappleye, MD ’99
We are so proud of what you have accomplished here at Washington University–the best is yet to come!
Christina Gurnett, MD, PhD, HS ’03
Current Faculty, WU Neurology
Hello doctors! Congratulations! You should be so proud of yourselves for your amazing accomplishments! I am so proud of you! I know what you have been through to get where you are, and I know how disappointing it must be not to be able to have a big celebration of where you are at this moment. That sucks. Where the world is truly sucks. But it also truly highlights the importance of what we have chosen to do, the difference we are making in people’s lives. We in the medical community celebrate all of you graduates, and applaud you-what you have done so far, and all that is ahead of you. You are amazing.
Belinda Chen, MD ’97
Congratulations to all the WUMS graduates this year! While the cancellation of commencement (after so many years of work and the grueling match process) is indeed sad, it is necessary and one of the first ways you and your colleagues display the quiet heroisms demanded of physicians. You’re graduating into a tumultuous world, but you will do good. Non nobis, sed omnibus (not for us, for all).
Neena Cherayil, MD ’15
Your hard work and dedication in the face of adversity have not gone unnoticed.
Eric Boyum, MD ’10
You are entering the best profession of all. I was never sorry for that choice. Make the best of it!
Gordon Bloomberg, MD, HS ’63
Former Faculty, Retired
Dear Medical Students,
We are proud of each and every one of you as you graduate from WUSM. You are embarking on a wonderful journey. Take care.
Anne Claiborne, MD, HS ’84 and Bill Grisaitis, MD, HS ’86
Now more than ever we’re seeing the great need in our society for caring, empathetic, dedicated physicians. That’s YOU– and I know you can do it! WashU prepared me so well for life (and practice) in residency and beyond.
Tassy Hayden, MD ’11
Graduates: Kudos on your accomplishments! I feel very badly that you are not getting the opportunity to enjoy the formal celebration of all the hard work you have done. However, you will often find as you proceed in your career that external recognition does not come even when it is well earned and well deserved. So let the internal knowledge of knowing you have worked hard and accomplished a wonderful goal provide you with satisfaction and the drive to do more now and always.
Ken Goldblum, MD ’85
Congratulations on obtaining a wonderful education. Looking forward to your success. I trust that your education will serve you very well as has mine. Have an excellent very large academic institution based plastic surgery practice in the Southeast. Please be in touch if I can ever provide mentorship/advice.
Edmond Ritter, MD ’84
Congratulations! They perhaps “can always hurt you more” but you’ve survived what we all hope is the worst detour that you’ll experience in your medical education and training–keep social distancing but know that the WUSM community will always have you in our hearts!
Ami Chiu, MD ’19, MPH ’19, Current House Staff
Congratulations to one and all on this momentous occasion where you have demonstrated your dedication to and determination for medicine. You are entering the field of medicine during particularly exciting and challenging times on multiple fronts. As WUMS graduates, I know you have the grit, energy, confidence and fortitude to overcome whatever obstacles you may face. Congratulations, again, as you continue your life-long journey exploring the world of medicine beyond medical school.
Ronald Ziman, MD ’73, HS
A well-deserved congratulations to all of you. Your learning does not end today, on the contrary this is the beginning of the best years of your life. It will not be easy but you have all the skills you need to succeed. Work hard, have fun and in the words of William Osler “Gain wisdom with experience.”
Alex Denes, MD, HS
Congratulations to all of this year’s medical school graduates. You are embarking upon a fulfilling life experience. It is an exciting and sometimes chaotic journey; however, you each are entering with personal dreams and ambition, supported by the validity of graduating from a top medical school with the excellent education you now have, which will remain as the foundation for your professional lives! I graduated in 1966 and still, at age 81, I practice outpatient psychiatry 3 days a week and love what I do every day! Embrace the challenges that are ahead and best wishes!
Max Baker, MD ’66, HS
Great job everyone, make us proud!!
Andrew Harger, MD ’09
I salute you for making it through an unusual and difficult senior year. The world is much different from the one I entered 60 years ago. I had more to learn than I ever dreamed. I had some wonderful faculty as you do now, and I found out that there is much respect out there for a degree from Washington U.
Robert Laatsch, MD ’59
Congratulations, Class of 2020! It would be easy to despair that the end of medical school was filled with lost opportunities. But consider the COVID pandemic a unique opportunity, given to you, to go outside your comfort zone. Take advantage of it. There will be a “new” normal, and you should seize this moment. As we emerge from this, everything will be different. How we socialize, how we travel, how we take care of patients. Think critically about how we can do things better. This is your moment to shape our future.
Tom Burklow, MD ’87
Congratulations on your hard work and accomplishments at Wash U! I have great memories of medical school there, and friendships and connections for a lifetime. Wishing you the best of luck for the next stage of your education and beyond!
Joan Lee, MD ’01
Huge congratulations on this amazing achievement!
While I’m sure graduation is not what you imagined, I am hopeful these strange last 2 months have allowed you time to reflect on how much the world needs smart and empathetic physicians and brilliant scientists. You now have the finest undergraduate medical training in the world. Best of luck in continuing to improve health and wellness for people and their families.
Patrick Brady, MD ’03
Congratulations to the 2020 graduates! You have all made remarkable achievements and are among the best prepared in the world for your respective fields. Celebrate this moment!
A hard part is about to begin, if it hasn’t already – I know your graduation celebration doesn’t look like you envisioned and you are stepping into new roles and responsibilities at an uncertain time. You’ve got this. Your classmates, your teachers, alumni who haven’t met you, all have your back, through what they’ve already taught you and ongoing relationships. We are all facing new things and none of us have all the answers, but stepping out of WashU, you are not alone.
My advice for now is: Hug your supporters who are close enough to hug, remember moments of joy and laughter with your classmates and friends, remember challenges and be proud of having come through them to this moment. You have come so far, learned so much, and are so worth celebrating. Congrats!
Sumeeta Varma, MD ’12, MSCI ’12
Congratulations! It’s an even more scary time than usual to start residency, but I promise that you will be VERY well-prepared to start taking care of patients with skill, intention, and thoughtfulness. Go out there in the world, be a fantastic young physician, and don’t forget your roots. It’s still an amazing privilege to be a physician, especially now!
Elyse Everett, MD ’15, Current House Staff
Dear Class of 2020,
Your class is the last full class of WUSM for me to teach. I retired September 30, 2019 after more than 4 decades, and I regret that I will be unable to attend your commencement exercises, cheer for you and congratulate your families. I came to STL as an intern in General Surgery at BJH in 1975- as many of you know I was mentored by Dr. Jesse Ternberg (pediatric surgeon) who inspired me to create a specialty in pediatric and adolescent gynecology. This field became my life work, and I am happy to see that young women and children now have caregivers for their reproductive health and well-being. May each one of you find your life work and passion in your chosen profession. Make the world a better place. We would have never predicted that COVID 19 would have impacted all of our days with such drama. May your M.D. degree from Wash U School of Medicine bring you great pride, continued friendships and warm memories. WE are so proud of all of you!
Diane F. Merritt, MD, HS ’80
Professor Emerita of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Former Faculty
Congratulations on a great achievement. Even though the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have paused your celebration of this achievement, you can rest assured that your training at WUMS has provided you with all of the necessary knowledge and tools to deal with the most difficult medical issues found in the human experience. You may not appreciate this fact until you’re up to your ears in alligators during residency training, or during clinical practice. Some of you will go on to make landmark contributions in basic and/or clinical research. Some will become cherished leaders and faculty members in your chosen field. Regardless of your path, your patients will become the major benefactors of your achievement this year. Please share with us alumni, and your fellow graduates, your future experiences. You will never regret staying connected with the WUMS community.
Stephen Jolley, MD ’76
Congratulations on an amazing accomplishment! These are very difficult times and all lives are on temporary hold. If your parents were like mine, they very much wanted to see you walk across that stage. I know it’s not the same, but you always do a little private celebration on your own. In the end, you are still a Wash U physician and will always be! Embrace the moment because many more great moments are to come!
LeRoy Jones, MD ’88
Congratulations on an amazing milestone! Everyone is so excited for your accomplishment and what you will bring to the medical community. Life feels so different now during the outbreak but what stays the same is that people look to physicians like you to help and heal them. This is your time to show them the compassion and expertise you honed at WUSM. We need you more than ever. Stay safe and congratulations!
Celeste Kuo, MD’04, HS
Congrats everyone! So proud of each and every one of you and you’re all going to do great in the future.
Nirbhay Jain, MD ’19
As a former WUMS graduate and the incoming President of The Aesthetic Society, I wish to congratulate the WUMS Class of 2020 on a job well done. These are challenging times but the future, your future, is bright. I wish to extend a special congratulations to those joining us in plastic surgery. The Aesthetic Society welcomes you to join us and use the many innovative and free programs to help your success. Again, congratulations on your graduation and welcome to the WUMS Alumni family!
Herluf G. Lund Jr., MD ’85, HS ’91, FACS
You may not be in a cap and gown. You may not parade in front of your family, but you will always be a Wash U graduate. You will bear the mark of your rigorous education.
As you step into the role of physician in this historic time, trust your training. As you have risen to the challenge of your medical education, so too will you rise to face the unprecedented medical climate into which you make your first steps as MD. Welcome to the family!
Sara Manning, MD ’12, HS
Congratulations, and now, Baptism under fire!
Robert Mendelsohn, MD ’54, HS
Many congratulations on your achievements and graduation today. I know this path required countless hours of hard work, dedication and determination, and would just like to acknowledge all of your efforts. Congratulations again, and best wishes in your future.
Leena Padhye, MD ’14
It must be so disappointing to miss the pomp & circumstance of medical school graduation. After all these years I still remember my graduation day 35 years ago. After an excellent education at WUMS, you are entering a noble profession at an incredible time in world history.
Congratulations and help us solve this mess! There is no better job, and I wish you luck and happiness.
Regina Resta, MD ’85
Congratulations on your amazing accomplishments! You are graduating during unprecedented times. This is our call to service. Our ancestors survived the influenza epidemic of 1918, World Wars, the Holocaust, earthquakes, famines, floods and fires, more wars and other epidemics and pandemics. We will all get through this, and have a greater under- standing and community because of it. Continue to be lifelong learners. Godspeed.
Audrey Rostov, MD ’88, HS ’92
Hello Dear Youngsters,
I congratulate all of you for working hard for years to achieve what you aspired be.
Wish you all the best in your future. I was happy to be with Washington University in 70’s and proud of my association with the great University.
Muniyapla Rajappa, MD, HS ’79
I am so saddened by our inability to share this year’s graduation day with you. I was looking forward to seeing my niece, (of whom I am so proud) Madeline Scannell, graduate with this year’s class. Please know that we will not forget the years of hard work you have done and the sacrifices you have undoubtedly made. Thirty six years later, I still remember just how much of an accomplishment it is to get through medical school. I hope you know there are so many of us in the old crew, looking forward to seeing you thrive as our new generation of excellent physicians. I am excited to see what you have learned and how different your practices will be from ours. This is a sad, but an exciting time nonetheless. You will be the ones to improve the lives and care for the health of our people. We are so proud. Thank you so much for what I know you will all accomplish.
Lynne Scannell, MD ’84
Dear graduates of 2020,
I know that this is an incredibly bittersweet end to your medical school career.
Nothing has turned out this semester like any of us expected it. Fortunately, or unfortunately, you will find that your entire medical careers will often be full of unexpected changes (both good and bad), which can completely change your trajectory. Nothing is ever set in stone. How we choose to respond and to overcome is up to us.
As you embark upon the newest part of your journey to residency, know that we all stand behind you. We are invested in your success, and cannot wait to see how you change the world.
Joseph P. Bradley, MD, HS ’13, FACS
Current Faculty, Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology
A deep congratulations to everyone for matching! Looking forward to seeing you all
on the wards. Your class will be at the heart of the pandemic response and will see us through! Congratulations on fully joining the medical profession. Stay safe and welcome to the family.
Avik Som, MD/PhD ’18
Your careers in medicine are starting off during a crisis that so many of your mentors are looking at as the greatest test of their generation. You have and will continue to make us proud. Make your mark a great one.
Jeffery Ward, MD/PhD, HS ’12, HS ’16
Congratulations on reaching the end of medical school! It was a long journey but using the skills you learned to help others makes the journey worth it. Your graduation is unlikely any other in history! Relish this unique opportunity and celebrate it anyway you (socially distantly) can!
Craig Yugawa, MD ’19
Congratulations to all graduates of the class of 2020. I have had the pleasure of being your primary care physician during your time here at WUMS. I am so proud of your accomplishments – in your professional and personal environments. Good luck on your future endeavors and remember – take care of yourselves.
Karen Winters, MD
I am sorry you will miss the celebration of graduation from medical school after all your hard work. Becoming a physician during a worldwide pandemic will set you apart from all your colleagues before and after this event, and know that makes you special. As we often say in the world of surgery that which does not kill us, makes us stronger. Congratulations on your strengths of completing training during the most difficult of times.
Barbara Goheen Brodish, MD, HS
Congratulations on your match and exciting future. I am so sorry that you will not be able to share your graduation with each other, your family and your friends, but know that you will be thrilled to see how well you have been prepared for this next step in your training. I know that you will make us proud.
David Cox, MD ’89
We are Classmates from WUMS ’70 and are sad that the celebration for you and
your families will be attenuated most likely but not your, their, and our pride in your achievements. Much, if not most, of what you have learned was discovered after our graduation. Don’t celebrate too long. Set new goals for your lives and careers asap after every milestone. Make sure to have balance in your life. ‘Primum non nocere’ starts with your wellbeing and we hope that you will pursue personal happiness by taking care of the caretaker. Maya Angelou was right: ‘People will never remember what you say, only how you made them feel’!
Jo Zurbrugg, MD ’70, HS ’71 and Eric Zurbrugg, MD ’70, HS ’71