Class of 2019 graduates in Tallahassee

Class of 2019 regalia

May 18, 2019


They arrived as students and departed as doctors. In between were raucous cheers, air-horn blasts, babies’ cries and audible sighs as, one by one, the 113 graduates of the FSU College of Medicine’s Class of 2019 crossed the stage and grabbed the diploma of their dreams.


This was the medical school’s 15th graduating class, and Ruby Diamond Concert Hall was packed.


Also during the two-hour celebration, five grads received their military promotions. Seven grads were “hooded” by relatives – several of whom were College of Medicine alumni. Plus the 13 members of this year’s Bridge class received their master’s degrees.


FSU President John Thrasher was there to shake every hand. Commencement speaker Michael Muszynski offered the graduates an abundance of advice, including this final recommendation: “When you awake each morning, ask yourself: What good can I do today? And when the hard day’s work has ended, and you lay your head to rest, ask yourself: What good did I do today?”


Dean John P. Fogarty put this class’s era in perspective. During their time here, the College of Medicine established a new curriculum, launched a PA program, developed new residency programs throughout the state, established FSU SeniorHealth and FSU PrimaryHealth, and expanded its SSTRIDE pipeline programs in Immokalee and Sarasota.  


Along the way, Fogarty said, the Class of 2019 made its own mark.


“You studied here during turbulent times in our nation’s history,” he said, “and instead of protesting, you focused on bringing the community together by creating Racism Awareness Week, an amazing collaboration with our local community…. Your class also developed and founded the HIV/AIDS vigils at the College of Medicine in collaboration with FAMU, Bond Community Health Center and Big Bend Cares…. Many of you also jumped at the chance to help Hurricane Michael victims in Marianna, Panama City and surrounding communities.”


The graduates crossed the stage in six groups, representing the six regional campuses where they had spent their third and fourth years: Daytona Beach, Fort Pierce, Orlando, Pensacola, Sarasota and Tallahassee. Each name was called out, preceded by “Doctor.” One by one, the dean from their campus (or an M.D. family member) stood behind them and brought the hood down over their head and onto their shoulders. Then they received their diploma and posed for a photo with Thrasher and Fogarty.


The day before graduation, 41 students were honored at an awards assembly in the Durell Peaden Auditorium. Four of those students came from the Fort Pierce campus and received the following awards: Robin McDougall Access to Care Award: Stefano Leitner, Merritt Ryals Clements, M.D., Award for Excellence in Obstetrics and Gynecology: Karisa Brown, Robert D. Snyder, M.D., Award for Outstanding Student in General Surgery with a Focus on Breast Cancer: Daniel Farinas Lugo, Regional Campus Deans’ Awards: Alexandra Lackey


Soon, the new M.D.s will be heading off for the residency programs where they’ll spend the next three or more years. And for those keeping score … the med school now has 1,368 alumni, with 179 of them having trained at the Fort Pierce Regional Campus.