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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

Minnesota Commencement Ceremony

The University of Minnesota School of Public Health graduated the next generation of talented and prepared public health professionals during its commencement ceremony held on May 11. More than 374 students from 44 countries received MHA, MPH, MS, PhD degrees or certificates from programs like epidemiology, biostatistics, and global health.

During commencement, Dean John Finnegan welcomed Dr. Camara Jones, the immediate past president of the American Public Health Association, to the stage of the University’s Northrop Auditorium to give the keynote address.

Dr. Jones spoke about racism, exploring its definition and types, and how the origins of systemic racism hinder society from reaching its highest potential.

“Racism is still alive and well in this nation,” said Dr. Jones. “Race is the social interpretation of how we look, and racism is the system of structuring opportunity and assigning value based on that so-called race.”

Dr. Jones charged the graduates and audience with dismantling racism by being courageous, embracing challenge, and risking controversy; in showing curiosity for why choices and decisions are made or conditions exist; and through a commitment to live as a citizen caring about the community as a whole.

“Go forth and matter,” concluded Dr. Jones.

The student address was presented by Ms. Valentina Lin, who earned an MPH in Public Health Administration & Policy. Miss Lin shared stories of people and experiences that helped lay her pathway to a career in public health, and offered advice for future success.

“Find a mentor and be a mentor. Never give up dreaming big or taking action. And in all that you do, remember to keep health in all policies,” said Ms. Lin. “In the words of Dr. Seuss, ‘Today is your day. Your mountain is waiting. So, get on your way!”

Congratulations to the University of Minnesota School of Public Health Class of 2017!

Watch and listen to Dr. Camara Jones’ commencement address