||LOS ANGELES, CA. – Last Saturday, Charles R. Drew University of Science and Medicine (CDU) conferred degrees and certificates upon 252 students at the 28th commencement ceremony. Graduates from every CDU program were honored in one ceremony with 28 from the Drew/UCLA Medical Education Program, 61 from the College of Science and Health, and 163 from the Mervyn M. Dymally School of Nursing. Located in the Watts-Willowbrook area of South Los Angeles, CDU has graduated more than 550 medical doctors, 2,500 post-graduate physicians, more than 2,000 physician assistants and hundreds of other health professionals. Dr. David M. Carlisle, the new President of Charles R. Drew University addressed the Class of 2012, “It gives me great pride to say that on this most auspicious of occasions, we are about to witness the graduation of 252 students, the Charles R. Drew University Class of 2012. This is the largest such class in the history of this institution. I can’t say how proud I am of each these superb individuals who have contributed so much to the fabric of this University and this community.”
Read President Carlisle’s Remarks in full HERE
The commencement theme “Charles R. Drew University: What Happens Here Changes the World” was a tribute to the beginning of new careers dedicated to eliminating health disparities of the underserved.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, PhD, a long-time supporter of CDU, was the commencement speaker and received The President’s Medal, which recognizes extraordinary and unique service to CDU. As Chair of the Board of Councilor’s, Dr. Ridley-Thomas has played an invaluable role in the University’s development.
Read Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’ speech in full HERE
In his address, he discussed the challenges and opportunities in the health care field and the importance of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for Los Angeles County. Honorable Ridley-Thomas ended his statements that this ceremony, “…is a commission to honor your personal, individual achievement, to heal when possible, to comfort when necessary and to serve by providing the best quality of care always.”
CDU honored distinguished National Institutes of Health administrator and biomedical researcher, Sidney A. McNairy, Jr. PhD, DSc., with an honorary doctoral degree of humane letters for his career’s commitment to biomedical research in minority institutions. During his career in various positions of leadership at the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Dr. McNairy has been the driving force behind the success of a number of innovative programs that strengthened the biomedical research infrastructure at both emerging and research-intensive institutions throughout the nation. He has also been a leader in developing programs that address health-disparities and health-related science education for K-12 students and the general public.
The Board of Trustees presented a Medal of Honor to John Ruffin, PhD, the Director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. First awarded in 1998, the Medal of Honor is bestowed to the recipient who best exemplifies the spirit of CDU’s mission, to serve the underserved with excellence and compassion. Ruffin has dedicated his research to medically underserved populations and supports programs to increase minority health professionals.
The commencement ceremony took place at the CDU campus, 1731 E. 120th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90059.
The day before the ceremony, Congresswoman Laura Richardson of California’s 37th District honored CDU for its achievements and congratulated the Class of 2012 in the Congressional Record. She stated, “Each member of the graduating class has chosen a career path that will not only be exciting and rewarding, but will make a true difference in the lives of so many people.”
Read Congresswoman Laura Richardson (CA-37) in full HERE
Watch CDU’s Legacy Video HERE
About Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science
CDU is a private, nonprofit, nonsectarian, minority-serving medical and health sciences institution. Located in the Watts-Willowbrook area of South Los Angeles, CDU has graduated more than 550 medical doctors, 2,500 post-graduate physicians, more than 2,000 physician assistants and hundreds of other health professionals. The only dually designated Historically Black Graduate Institution and Hispanic Serving Health Professions School in the U.S., CDU is recognized as a leader in translational and health inequities research, specifically with respect to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, mental health, and HIV/AIDS. Recently, the CDU/UCLA medical program was named the “best performer” in the University of California System with respect to producing outstanding underrepresented minority physicians by the Greenlining Institute. For more information, visit