In a commencement ceremony unlike any other for the UC Davis School of Medicine, none of the 114 candidates will walk across the stage to receive their Doctor of Medicine degree on Friday. Instead, they will each participate from remote locations in a unique graduation being broadcast over Zoom and Facebook Live.
The school’s 49th commencement will still have lots of pomp, amid unusual circumstances, as COVID-19 has dominated center stage globally, which has prevented large groups from gathering.
As a result, this year’s culmination to four strenuous years of medical education will be led by a handful of administrators and faculty members who will certainly take the utmost caution with physical and social distancing in the largest classroom of Betty Irene Moore Hall.
The presenters at the health campus, including UC Davis Chancellor Gary S. May and School of Medicine Dean Allison Brashear, will each speak into a camera broadcast via Zoom to the students in their various locations throughout California and elsewhere. That video feed will simultaneously air over Facebook Live, so hundreds of the students’ friends and family can experience the memorable occasion.
You can watch virtual commencement at 10 a.m. Friday at: facebook.com/UCDavisMedicine.
The ceremony will be interactive: When a graduate’s name is called, that student’s camera will be activated, and microphone unmuted for everyone to see and hear.
Student speaker Tyler Kadeem Johneir Carcamo will air his keynote from the intimacy of his home in Bakersfield, seated next to his mother, father and grandmother.
“To be our student speaker is probably the proudest accomplishment I could have during medical school,” said Carcamo, who was born in Belize, Central America. “The opportunity to be the collective voice to address my class and institution is really a dream come true.”
Other parts of the ceremony will be prerecorded, such as the National Anthem sung by graduating student Young Kang, and the Physician’s Oath, which students recited into the video cameras of cell phones, laptops, tablets and computers.
Not all medical schools across the country are holding an interactive program to recognize a total of 20,000 graduates, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
But UC Davis isn’t your typical medical school. After all, students don’t “graduate” alone at the annual commencement ceremony – students walk across the stage accompanied by their most significant supporters and role models, such as parents.
“We take our traditions seriously at UC Davis and we just couldn’t let our fabulous class of 2020 go without some sort of celebratory acknowledgement of their accomplishments,” said Darolyn Striley, who manages the Office of Student Development and has handled day-to-day operations for virtual commencement.
Striley said it’s heartwarming to know that so many people within the School of Medicine responded to the call to make commencement so special. This included, she said, the presence of the chancellor and deans, and the facilities crew that assembled a large stage that will be mostly vacant, due to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended precautions that people remain six feet from each other to avoid spreading the novel coronavirus.
“Everyone chipped in and gave 100% during this difficult time,” Striley said. “We wanted to show the world how extremely proud we are of our new doctors.”