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When Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, the University of Toledo’s president, walked across the stage halfway through the UT college of medicine and life sciences’ graduation, it was not to give another president’s address.
Instead, he hooded his son, Dr. Benjamin Jacobs, who was a member of the graduating class.
“I’m very proud of him and his accomplishments. He has accomplished a tremendous amount,” Dr. Jacobs said.
Like Dr. Jacobs and his son, about a third of the graduating class of more than 200 were hooded by a family member or friend as they received their degrees at the commencement ceremony Friday afternoon.
Dr. Jacobs said the university allows those with doctorate-level degrees to hood graduates.
In the case of graduate Dr. Caroline Elmer, two members of her family met the qualification. Dr. Elmer was hooded by both her father and grandfather, Dr. Lawrence William Elmer, and Dr. Joseph William Elmer, who graduated from UT’s medical school, the former Medical College of Ohio, in 1987 and 1962, respectively.
Jenni Toller, wife of graduate Dr. Steven Toller, said the support from family and friends is what enabled the graduates to achieve their current successes.
“Having those around them understand the commitment it takes to be able to succeed and to make it to this stage is important,” Ms. Toller said.
The college awarded 224 degrees to the graduating class, including the college’s first two dual degrees of doctor of medicine and master of business administration. The other degrees included nine PhDs in biomedical sciences and 43 master’s degrees.
As the students graduated, the alumni association presented them with gifts to help with their careers. Future physicians were given engraved stethoscopes, along with the instructions to listen to their hearts as they enter the medical world. Doctorate students received hand-blown glass paperweights to remind them of the Glass City where they received their degrees.
Dr. Jacobs said he urges the graduates to also remember their ideals and beliefs as they move forward with their lives.
“Being a professional is not about knowledge or skill, it’s about your ethical stance,” he said. “Never depart from the idea that your ethical stance is what constitutes your own humanity.”
Dr. Jo Ivey Boufford, president of the New York Academy of Medicine, and Jim Petro, Ohio Board of Regents chancellor, gave the commencement addresses.
Dr. Boufford encouraged the medical students to think expansively about health during their careers, and to apply their skills to national or even global health. She said that while the United States spends more per capita on health care than any other country, it ranks poorly in terms of infant mortality and life expectancy compared to other countries.
“It is critical to create a condition in communities that will allow people to be as healthy as they can be,” she said.
This condition will stem from broad-based public health action, Dr. Boufford said, which the graduates should strive toward.
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