About CDU

June 2013

Commencement 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013

CDU conferred degrees and certificates upon its largest class ever, 303 graduates, at the University’s 29th Commencement ceremony.  Graduates from every CDU program were honored with pomp and circumstance in one University-wide ceremony, including 17 graduates from the College of Medicine, 221 from the School of Nursing and 65 from the College of Medicine and Science.

The commencement theme chosen by members of the graduating class was a reflection on Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “What lies behind us, and what lies before us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

 “Your lifelong commitment to the health care field is empowering individuals to make healthier decisions and live longer, happier lives,” said Dr. David M. Carlisle, President of CDU.  “Each one of your stories will forever be woven into the legacy of Charles R. Drew University’s living history as you venture into the community with compassion and excellence.

Keynote Speaker Diana Bontá, R.N., Dr. P.H., President and CEO, The California Wellness Foundation highlighted the important role CDU graduates will play in today’s healthcare workforce.  Dr. Bonta' encouraged graduates that they need to be healthy themselves in order to provide adequate healthcare. She also stated that happiness in the workplace greatly contributes to one's attitude towards their job, so during their interview processes, they should be screening their employers just as closely as they as candidates are being screened

Nola Carter, one of the founding members of CDU, received The President’s Medal for her extraordinary and unique service to CDU.  She was a leading community advocate for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital, and thusly the University, and avidly supported health care access for South Los Angeles. Ms. Carter is 94 years old, and still supports the University and is an active member of the community block organization. 

In addition, the Board of Trustees Medal of Honor was given to Mr. and Mrs. Joe and Emma Adams. Mr. Adams was the first African American DJ to host a prime-time show in Los Angeles. For more than 4 decades, he managed the career of Ray Charles.  Mr. Adams was at the helm of the Ray Charles Corporation until his retirement and now serves as Chairman of the Board of The Ray Charles Foundation.

Active philanthropists and great believers in the power of education to transform the lives of youth, the Adams’ wanted to give back to the community where they were raised. The Medal of Honor is the highest honor from the board of trustees bestowed to the recipient who best exemplifies the spirit of CDU’s mission, to serve the underserved with excellence and compassion.

Honorary degrees were bestowed upon both: Dr. David E. Hayes-Bautista, Professor of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA and Director of the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture; and Cynthia C. Davis, MPH, Director of the HIV Mobile Outreach Project and Assistant Professor of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. 

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