In a celebration of academic accomplishments and personal growth, LKCMedicine held its sixth cohort's Convocation ceremony on 22 July at the Nanyang Auditorium of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU). With hearts filled with pride and hope, the event is a defining moment for the 138 students from the Class of 2023 as they set forth to make their mark in the world of healthcare.
Following the pomp and splendour of the academic procession, the ceremony was declared open by the Presiding Officer, NTU Vice President (Industry) Professor Lam Khin Yong. After which, LKCMedicine Dean Professor Joseph Sung took to the stage to introduce the guest speaker, Vice Provost of Tsinghua University and NTU Nanyang Professor of Practice (Clinical) Professor Wong Tien Yin.
The preeminent Singaporean ophthalmologist and physician-scientist began his speech reminding the graduates to take stock of this milestone event. Affirming the graduates’ perseverance, he said, “Today marks the culmination of many years of hard work, personal sacrifice, including going through the COVID-19 pandemic, and the years of studying to get into University in the first place – they all count and add up!”
Drawing upon his own experiences of working through two pandemics namely SARS and COVID-19, rapid globalisation and technological transformations, Prof Wong imparted three key lessons for the Class of 2023 to remember when confronted with professional challenges and opportunities in an unpredictable future: be adaptive in their careers and assume a broad and multidisciplinary mindset; embrace career prospects that enable learning and growth, especially if it provides the chance to address big challenges and go beyond their comfort zone; and recognise that tests and trials develop resilience and character.
“You now possess the seeds of training and the foundation from LKCMedicine and NTU. You are able to make a profound change to society and the lives around us. Now is the time to prepare your minds for the future,” said Prof Wong in his concluding remarks.
The highly awaited segment of the ceremony – the presentation of graduates – commenced with our PhD graduates. Several of them, including Drs Ethiraj Lalith Prabha, Nur Raihanah Binte Mohd Harion, Jeannie Lee Xue Ting and Wee Soon Keong, received their doctoral hoods from LKCMedicine Vice Dean (Research) Professor Lim Kah Leong.
The full list of LKCMedicine PhD graduates are as follows:
- Chia Po Ying
- Ethiraj Lalith Prabha
- Jeannie Lee Xue Ting
- Lim Wen Yi
- Low Zun Siong
- Ng Tze Hui Krystle Joy
- Nur Raihanah Binte Mohd Harion
- Sabrina Wong Kay Wye
- Valerie Yong Fei Lee
- Wee Soon Keong
- Zhang Minchuan
The MBBS degree presentation started with six graduates being specially recognised for their academic success. LKCMedicine Vice-Dean (Clinical Affairs) Professor Pang Weng Sun had the honour of reciting the names of our graduates.
LKCMedicine Valedictorian Dr Girvan Tay brought the ceremony to a close with his speech, where he reflected on the tapestry of support he and his fellow graduates experienced during their years as medical students. His full speech can be read here.
While convocation officially signifies the end of their journey with the School, it also signals the immense possibilities that lie ahead for the Class of 2023.
Many, like Dr Brjan Betzler, are hopeful of the impact they can create as a doctor. “Going to medical school, the motivation was to learn a skill that could be used in times of need, and it remains the same now. It brings me joy to be able to explain medical conditions to a patient and their family and outline the team’s care plan to them. Despite the long hours, I really enjoy the day-to-day duties, and I hope that remains the same for the many years to come,” he shared.
Graduating from LKCMedicine and entering the healthcare profession is doubly significant for Dr Betzler as he will be joining his twin brother, a recent medical school graduate as well. Although they studied medicine in different schools, the siblings continued to support one another and hope to grow together as junior doctors.
Apart from having people to count on in their new role as Postgraduate Year 1 doctors, the graduates can also rely on the knowledge and experiences gleaned while at School to steer them in the right direction.
Looking back at when the sixth cohort donned a white coat to symbolise the start of their medical education at their White Coat Ceremony, Dr Bryan Lee regards Convocation as a full circle moment. He said, “A pivotal moment that profoundly influenced my perspective as a doctor was the White Coat Ceremony of 2018. During the closing address, Senior Family Physician Dr Lee Suan Yew advised us to thrive to be excellent, not mediocre; to treat all our patients equally, with humility, regardless of race, religion or background; to share our skills and inspire others. [Years on], these are the values I hold dear as a doctor and have become the bedrock of my medical practice.”
His time at LKCMedicine was not short of impactful and memorable moments. Apart from participating in several national and international medical competitions, Dr Lee served as the Year Representative in his final year of School. Although the year was admittedly hectic, he was grateful to have interacted with his classmates. “Acting as the main spokesperson and raising the concerns of my classmates to the faculty also provided a sense of fulfilment away from my studies. My stint as the Year Representative was definitely a highlight of medical school.”
Like Dr Lee, Dr Karan Singh continues to be guided by the lessons learned at School, especially the clinical communication skills sessions by Assistant Dean (Clinical Communication) Dr Tanya Tierney and her dedicated team. “The valuable skills and lessons I learnt from them over the years help to keep me grounded in my practice as a doctor,” he explained.
As someone who considers his years at LKCMedicine as truly one of the best times he has had, with some of the best friends he has made, Dr Singh described his undergraduate experience as “unparalleled”.
For Dr Muhammad Danish Bin Massuryono, “worthwhile” aptly summarises his five years at LKCMedicine. The education he received at the School has proved to be instrumental to date. “I vividly remember the difficult conversations I have had as a House Officer, breaking my first news of death and news of cancer diagnosis. I would not have been able to do so without all the preparation from LKCMedicine.” He added, “I have received three thank you letters and patient compliments within my first month of being a House Officer, and I attribute it all to the School’s Foundations of Clinical Practice sessions and the constant reminders of putting the patient and their agenda first.”
National badminton player and fellow LKCMedicine Class of 2023 graduate Dr Grace Chua spoke highly of the School’s support system throughout the COVID-19 period, but it was just as important in helping her to juggle her studies and the demands of being an athlete. “I knew that I could count on my friends, asking them what I have missed. My family had also been very supportive, cooking for me, preparing things for me. The School had been supportive as well. They granted me LOAs (Leave of Absence) to go for my competitions; the faculty checked in on me regularly, asking me how I am doing, whether I needed support,” she noted.
Dr Chua shares more about her LKCMedicine experience here.
A testament to the close-knit relationship between the School and its students, Drs Lee, Betzler and Massuryono expressed their interest in one day returning to LKCMedicine to support and inspire the next generation of doctors.
It is heartening to see our bright-eyed students grow into confident young doctors eager to care for their patients. Assistant Dean (Year 5) Associate Professor Tham Kum Ying who was also present at the ceremony on Saturday said, “This is such a great day! This Class was very much affected by the pandemic, and it is good see all them graduating today and donning the cap and gown.”
We could not be any prouder of you, Class of 2023!