Rosalind Franklin University Celebrates 105th commencement

  • Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science celebrated its 105th Commencement on May 31.Mike Schmidt

    Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science celebrated its 105th Commencement on May 31.Mike Schmidt

Judy Masterson
Updated 6/5/2019 10:09 AM

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science conferred more than 500 graduate degrees in numerous health and biomedical sciences during its annual commencement ceremony, held May 31 at Credit Union 1 Arena on the UIC campus in Chicago.

Interim President and CEO Wendy Rheault advised graduates, including newly minted physicians, biomedical scientists, psychologists, physical therapists, pharmacists, nurse anesthetists, physician assistants and new degree holders in more than 20 other healthcare disciplines, to "Strive to make it easier to be healthy and to break down barriers to well-being."


"As RFU alumni, you stand at the forefront of a new paradigm of healthcare delivery, one that prioritizes interprofessional team-based care, health promotion and wellness and population health," Dr. Rheault said. "You have been steeped in what many health systems are coming to understand: The future of care isn't in new services and higher admission rates. It is in discovering ways to improve the health of the people in our care."

The North Chicago-based university, founded in 1912, is a pioneer in interprofessional health sciences education, in which students in different professional programs learn to work in teams, a strategy that helps improve coordination and quality of care and reduce costs.

Zachary Lubek delivered the ceremony's inaugural Graduate Address. Awarded a degree by the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine, he said he was told early on by a mentor "You will heal sometimes, console often, but help always."

"Each one of us graduating today, has the ability to help," Dr. Lubek said, citing the many ways health professionals work together to help patients: setting a fracture, placing an IV, preparing a tissue sample, teaching the importance of nutrition -- or simply listening.

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Dr. Lubek, who is headed for a three-year podiatric medicine and surgery residency in Minnesota, said he learned at RFU that "shared values and teamwork help break down walls and convert fragmented care into integrated care" as "dedicated professionals work side by side to provide the best possible care for each patient."

The university's 105th Commencement Ceremony included the awarding of the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters to two physician scientists: Dr. K. MIchael Welch, a neurologist and expert in stroke and migraine, who led reinvestment in research and community outreach efforts as RFU's president and CEO from 2002 to 2018; and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician whose research exposed a contaminated water supply in Flint, Mich.

"Our honorary degree recipients have modeled care for their communities and a deep understanding of their responsibility, as both medical professionals and members of the academy, to tackle difficult issues, including disparities in health, wealth and education," said Dr. Rheault, in urging graduates to confront the nation's "many difficult challenges to health and well-being."