Past Ceremonies

2020 MD Commencement ceremony

The coronavirus pandemic forced the first-ever cancellation of on-campus Commencement celebrations in May 2020. Instead, MD program held virtual celebrations to honor the Class of 2020.

2020 MD Commencement

2019 MD Commencement ceremony

May 17, 2019

Keynote speaker: Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, MPH

Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, MPH
Pediatrician, professor, and public health advocate

Keynote speech:
Watch Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s address (video) »

Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, MPH, FAAP is founder and director of the Michigan State University and Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative, an innovative and model public health program in Flint, Michigan. A pediatrician, scientist, and activist, Dr. Hanna-Attisha has testified twice before the United States Congress, awarded the Freedom of Expression Courage Award by PEN America, and named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for her role in uncovering the Flint Water Crisis and leading recovery efforts. She has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, BBC and countless other media outlets championing the cause of children in Flint and beyond. She is founding donor of the Flint Child Health and Development Fund (

Dr. Hanna-Attisha received her bachelor’s and Master of Public Health degrees from the University of Michigan and her medical degree from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine (MSU CHM). She completed her residency at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit, where she was chief resident. She is currently an associate professor of pediatrics and human development at MSU CHM.

Her new bestselling book What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City is a riveting, beautifully rendered account of a shameful disaster that became a tale of activism and hope, the story of a city on the ropes that came together to fight for justice, self-determination, and the right to build a better world for their—and all of our—children.

Videos from Commencement

All-university Commencement:
Watch keynote speeches »

2018 MD Commencement ceremony

May 18, 2018

Keynote speaker: Adil Haider, MD

Adil Haider, MD, MPH, FACS
Kessler Director, Center for Surgery and Public Health
Trauma Surgeon
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Keynote speech:
Watch Dr. Haider’s address (video) »

Adil Haider, MD, MPH, FACS is an active trauma and acute care surgeon, a prolific researcher, and director of the Center for Surgery and Public Health (CSPH), a joint initiative of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He is also the Deputy Editor of JAMA Surgery and holds numerous leadership positions, including President of the Association for Academic Surgery (AAS).

Dr. Haider is credited with uncovering racial disparities after traumatic injury and establishing the field of trauma disparities research. He is regarded as one of the foremost experts on healthcare inequities in the United States, with projects focused on describing and mitigating unequal outcomes based on gender, race, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age and socioeconomic status. His other research focuses on long-term clinical and functional outcomes after trauma and emergency general surgery, optimal treatment of trauma/critically ill patients in resource-poor settings, and advanced analytic techniques for surgical health services research.

Dr. Haider has formally mentored more than 100 research trainees, published more than 250 peer reviewed papers and currently serves as Principal Investigator on extramural grants worth more than ten million dollars. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2017 Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Dr. Haider believes that equality is the cornerstone of medicine, and his professional goal is to eradicate disparities in healthcare in the United States.

Videos from 2018 Commencement

All-university Commencement:
Watch keynote speeches »

2017 MD Commencement ceremony

May 19, 2017

Keynote speaker: Leana Wen, MD ’07

Leana Wen, MD ’07
Commissioner of Health, City of Baltimore,
Medicine Physician

Research Interests
Public Health Policy, patient safety and patient-centered care, transparency in medicine, and international health systems research.

Dr. Leana Wen received her medical degree from Washington University in St. Louis and continued her training at Brigham & Women’s/Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was a Clinical Fellow at Harvard Medical School. She is a Rhodes Scholar, a critically-acclaimed author, a renowned speaker, and the 2016 recipient of the American Public Health Association’s highest award for local public health work, the Milton and Ruth Roemer Award. Read Dr. Wen’s full bio on her website.

Keynote speech:
Watch Dr. Wen’s address (video) »

Twitter moment:
Dr. Leana Wen addresses Washington University medical school graduates »

Alumna profile:
Dr. Leana Wen saves lives as Baltimore city health commissioner (video) »

Videos from 2017 Commencement

All-university Commencement:
Watch keynote speeches »

#WashU17 grad fills the gap in disability training

Class of 2017 graduate Hilary Gallin helped develop a curriculum aimed at improving care for patients with disabilities. Read the story »


2016 MD Commencement ceremony

May 20, 2016

Keynote speaker: Thomas Hornbein, MD ’56

Thomas Hornbein, MD
Thomas Hornbein, MD ’56
Clinical Professor Emeritus and Former Chair,
Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine
Professor Emeritus, Physiology and Biophysics

University of Washington School of Medicine

Research Interests
High altitude medicine and physiology, chemical regulation of breathing, and chemical dependency in health care personnel

On May 22, 1963, Dr. Hornbein, with his climbing partner Willi Unsoeld, were the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest by the west slope.

Dr. Hornbein was featured in Washington Magazine‘s Winter 2000 issue.

2015 MD Commencement ceremony

May 15, 2015

Keynote speaker: C. Garrison Fathman, MD ’69


C. Garrison Fathman, MD ’69
Professor or Medicine and Chief of Division of Immunology
Director, Institute for Immunology
Stanford University School of Medicine

Dr. C. Garrison Fathman is Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Immunology and Rheumatology at Stanford University School of Medicine and Associate Director of the Institute for Immunology, Transplantation and Infection (ITI) and Director of the Center for Clinical Immunology at Stanford (CCIS). He was Founder and first-President of the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies (FOCIS).

Dr. Fathman’s substantial scientific contributions in the areas of cellular and molecular immunology have brought him international recognition. As Director of the CCIS, he initiated a multidisciplinary approach to study and treat autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, and initiated several new approaches to education and community outreach.

Dr. Fathman received his Medical Degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 1969. He subsequently completed his residency training at Dartmouth Affiliated Hospitals and completed a fellowship in immunology and rheumatology at Stanford University. He then spent four years in training in research, first at the National Cancer Institute of the NIH, and then as a member of the Basel Institute of Immunology in Switzerland. He returned to the United States to join the faculty at the Mayo Clinic Medical School in 1977 and was recruited back to Stanford University in 1981.

Dr. Fathman is a member of many professional organizations, including the American Association of Immunologists (AAI) and the Association of American Physicians (AAP), and is past council member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) and past-President of the Clinical Immunology Society (CIS). He was Associate Editor of the Annual Review of Immunology for 25 years and serves on the editorial boards of numerous scientific journals. Dr. Fathman has chaired a variety of national and international professional meetings, served on NIH study sections and numerous blue ribbon panels, and has written more than 300 articles on his research in molecular and cellular characterization of CD4 T cell activation and unresponsiveness.

2014 MD Commencement ceremony

May 16, 2014

Keynote speaker: Mark McClellan, MD, PhD

Mark McClellan, MD, PhD
Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, is a senior fellow and director of the Initiative on Value and Innovation in Health Care at the Brookings Institution. Within Brookings, his work focuses on promoting quality and value in patient centered health care.

A doctor and economist by training, he also has a highly distinguished record in public service and in academic research. Dr. McClellan is a former administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), where he developed and implemented major reforms in health policy. These include the Medicare prescription drug benefit, the FDA’s Critical Path Initiative, and public-private initiatives to develop better information on the quality and cost of care.

Dr. McClellan chairs the FDA’s Reagan-Udall Foundation, is co-chair of the Quality Alliance Steering Committee, sits on the National Quality Forum’s Board of Directors, is a member of the Institute of Medicine, and is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

He previously served as a member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and senior director for health care policy at the White House, and was an associate professor of economics and medicine at Stanford University.

2013 MD Commencement ceremony

May 17, 2013