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AUA Celebrates Seventh Annual Commencement Ceremony

New York, NY (PRWEB) May 24, 2013

On May 16, students, family members, and dignitaries congregated for the seventh commencement ceremony of American University of Antigua (AUA) College of Medicine at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center.

This was the largest graduating class to date. The ceremony opened with master of ceremonies Dick Woodward, AUA’s Senior Vice President for Enrollment Management and Chief Operating Officer, introducing the graduate processional and Dr. Reza Sanii, Associate Dean of Students and Professor and Chair – Physiology, introducing the onstage dignitaries. The first speech was from Neal Simon, AUA’s President and Co-Founder, congratulating the class of 2013 and advising graduates on their futures.

“Right now, you know more about healthcare than 95.5 percent of the world,” said Simon. “AUA enjoys a good reputation in the medical community because of the quality of its graduates.”

Dr. Seymour Schwartz, AUA’s Provost and best known for his seminal textbook Principles of Surgery, told the graduates to never be complacent and continue to expand themselves intellectually and emphatically with their patients. Dr. Jabir Singh Nagra, Executive Dean of Basic Sciences, described how humility is essential to being a physician and that graduates should approach practicing medicine with a positive attitude. Dr. Peter Bell, Executive Dean for Clinical Sciences, motivated the graduates to accomplish as much as they can as physicians.

The keynote speaker, Ambassador John Maisto, a retired member of the U.S. Foreign Service and former ambassador to Venezuela, used his own life experiences abroad to prove that a global medical education was essential for today’s physicians. He explained how Americans often overlook the Caribbean and how important the region, and AUA in particular, was to the international medical community. He went on to praise AUA’s graduates, telling them that they were not only medical graduates but also practitioners in international relations.

“AUA is at the forefront to some of the most modern and innovative approaches to medicine,” said Ambassador Maisto. “It’s also incredibly important to the Antiguan economy…and healthcare in the Caribbean.”

The co-valedictorians, Monique Leung and Veena Patel, and AUA alumnus Dr. Bilal Khan followed Ambassador Maisto. Leung thanked the faculty for their dedication to AUA students and congratulated her fellow graduates for attaining MD degrees. Patel’s speech praised her parents for their faith in her skills. Dr. Khan shared a story about one of the first life-threatening cases he encountered and told the graduates to always listen to their patients.

“Think of your patient as an opportunity to constantly improve,” said Khan. “Lead by example and appreciate those who taught you. Humility is the most needed trait in this profession.”

The ceremony concluded with Dr. Schwartz conferring their degrees and the graduates taking the ceremonial Hippocratic Oath.

About American University of Antigua

AUA was founded in 2004 to address the coming physician shortage and to break down barriers that have prevented underrepresented minorities from obtaining a medical education and subsequent medical licensure. AUA is recognized by the Medical Board of California, approved by the New York State Education Department, and has provisional accreditation from the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and Other Health Professions.

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