On Giant Shoulders

By Emily Gold / July / August 1999
November 12th, 2007
While adjusting to sleepless residencies and constantly beeping pagers, new M.D.s could easily forget what drew them to medicine in the first place. Garey Noritz offered his classmates, the medical school class of '99, this reminder: "We stand with our patients through their lives and to their deaths, so that no one makes the journey alone or afraid."

Noritz spoke to a crowd of classmates, professors, friends, and family who'd squeezed into pews at the First Unitarian Church to watch eighty-five medical students receive their diplomas. He talked about the contradictions of a doctor's life. "We scold for high cholesterol," he said, "while we have a belly full of ribs. Today we give solace when our own hearts are breaking." The graduates also paid respects to their physician forefathers. Without the great discoveries and doctors of the past, said Philip J. DiSaia '59 M.D., the futures of medical-school graduates would be less bright. DiSaia talked about such medical giants as Hippocrates, the father of medicine; Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States; and Sir Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicillin.

After reciting the physician's oath and pondering their diplomas, the new doctors left the church with the assurance that, like their forefathers, they will make a difference. Speaking to the graduates, Professor of Medicine Edward R. Feller said, "We all have a legacy unknown, unimagined perhaps, but truly immortal."

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July / August 1999