It’s graduation time, and UA College of Medicine students will be among the first to turn their tassels next week.

Eighty-one students from the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix will process through the streets of downtown Phoenix prior to commencement exercises on Monday, May 8. Led by the Phoenix Pipe Band, the procession will begin on campus, 550 E. Van Buren St., at 3 p.m. and end at Phoenix Symphony Hall, 75 N. Second St., Phoenix. Commencement is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m.

“We are immensely proud of the class of 2017,” said Interim Dean Kenneth S. Ramos, MD, PhD. “They embody everything a physician should have: compassion, empathy and the drive to be the best physicians they can possibly be.” 

Distinguished pediatric gastroenterologist and founding faculty member Mitchell Shub, MD, will deliver the commencement speech. Dr. Shub, professor and chair of the Department of Child Health at the College, will share his 35 years of experience as a physician and professor at the College. 

“I want to impart to this graduating class a little bit about where we came from,” Dr. Shub said. “I will also want to talk about the skills all physicians should possess, which include perseverance, honesty and kindness.” 

Graduating senior Sarah Monks was chosen to deliver the student address by her fellow classmates.

“It’s truly a privilege,” Monks said. “Have you met some of my classmates? They’re probably some of the most stellar people I’ve ever met. To be chosen to be the student speaker is more than an honor.”

Monks, who participated in the couples match program, will do her residency at the University of North Carolina Hospital in Emergency Medicine.

One-third of this year’s class of 81 will stay in Arizona for their residency training, while 51 students will train outside of the state at prestigious programs such as Stanford University, Duke University Medical Center, Yale-New Haven Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine and UCLA Medical Center. 

When the medical college opened its doors in 2007, Arizona was suffering from a severe physician shortage. In just 10 years, the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix has graduated 355 physicians, including this class.

“We began having our first meetings in 1997 and I remember talking about the possibility of becoming a four-year medical school,” Dr. Shub said. “Did I anticipate it would look like this in 20 years? No, but we certainly hoped for this.”