KCU Celebrates Largest Graduating Class During Centennial Commencement Ceremony

May 11, 2016

Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU) held its centennial commencement ceremony for the class of 2016 at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri on May 7. KCU celebrated its 100th year of graduating physicians, as well as its 11th year of graduating scientists. The University’s centennial year marks KCU’s largest class in history with 343 graduates.

During the ceremony, KCU presented the honorary degree, doctor of humane letters, to two distinguished guests: commencement keynote speaker Fitzhugh Mullan, MD, Murdock Head Professor of Medicine and Health Policy, George Washington University; and Sylvester “Sly” James, Jr., Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri.

The doctor of humane letters is awarded to individuals for their contributions, both personal and professional, to the betterment of all humanity.

“KCU is proud to celebrate the commencement of its 2016 class, especially as this year marks our 100th anniversary,” said Marc B. Hahn, DO, president and chief executive officer of KCU. “In addition, we are honored to recognize Dr. Mullan and Mayor James with honorary degrees. Both of these men embody our mission to improve the well-being of the communities we serve. Their leadership, philanthropy and outstanding accomplishments within their respective communities make them truly deserving of this accolade.”

“Today I encourage you to take time to truly appreciate this moment and thank those who have supported you,” said Mayor James. “I also hope you take the time to appreciate the privilege you have had to be a part of this university. Take time to reflect on this community and how you have lived KCU’s mission of improving the well-being of the communities we serve.”

Approximately 3,000 people attended the centennial commencement ceremony for graduates of both the College of Osteopathic Medicine and the College of Biosciences. Dr. Mullan delivered the keynote address, “Beyond Flexner: The Battle for the Soul of Medicine.” During his speech, he touched on the importance of the social mission of medicine and medical schools’ role in advancing this purpose.

“As we all know, medicine will give us a good living, but for many of us, the selection of medicine goes beyond that,” said Dr. Mullan. “Idealism draws many of us into medicine and, for many, there is something else. It is a sense of what I call a social purpose. Social purpose recognizes that there are inequities built into our world as well as inequities in access to healthcare. Many people who enter health care hope to make the world not only a better place, but a fairer place.”

Dr. Mullan’s career has focused on community health delivery, improving the world’s health workforce, and health professions education, and has included clinical, administrative and editorial responsibilities in both the public and the private sector. He is also an accomplished author. His books include, “Coat, Clenched Fist: The Political Education of an American Physician” and “Big Doctoring in America: Profiles in Primary Care.”