WSU Sends First Medical School Graduates Out Into The World

A WSU Speech and Hearing Sciences student has her moment in the sun at the university's drive-through ceremony on the Spokane campus. CREDIT: Doug Nadvornick/SPR
A WSU Speech and Hearing Sciences student has their moment in the sun at the university's drive-through ceremony on the Spokane campus on Thursday, May 6, 2021. CREDIT: Doug Nadvornick/SPR

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Washington State University graduated its first-ever medical school class during a virtual ceremony Thursday, part of a three-day university-wide festival of commencements.

The first WSU College of Medicine commencement ceremony probably wasn’t what President Elson Floyd had in mind when he announced six years ago that the university would create its own medical school.

First, it was online and he wasn’t there to celebrate it. Floyd passed away in 2015, not long after Governor Jay Inslee signed legislation allowing WSU to move ahead with the school. His successor, Kirk Schulz, stood in for him.

“Today is a particularly historic day for the university and the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. For the first time in our institution’s 131-year history, we’re conferring medical degrees, another step in our land grant mission, dedicated to serving the needs of the people,” he said.

The ceremony also included remarks from Floyd’s widow, Carmento, who participated via Zoom.

“Four years ago, at the White Coat ceremony, I said this would be the greatest class. I was right. I truly still believe that today because you are the first, because the Washington State University faculty, staff and administrators so clearly understand the standards that have to be exceeded beyond all expectations,” she said.

A few hours after Thursday morning’s online ceremony, the university held a first-of-its-kind drive-through ceremony in a parking lot on WSU’s Spokane campus. The medical students in the inaugural class will now disperse across the country to begin their residency training. The students in the college’s Speech and Hearing Sciences and Nutrition and Exercise Physiology programs also picked up their degrees.

WSU graduation ceremonies will continue Friday and culminate with a systemwide ceremony on Saturday morning.

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