Monday, May 18, 2015

Graduation Time!

Graduation is rightly a time of celebration and pride – for our students, their families, significant others and our faculty and staff. As we prepare to launch our newest group of Salus graduates I want to extend the University’s congratulations and thanks to all of our students, faculty and staff on attaining this significant accomplishment. There will be many more to follow as you mature as providers and educators.

You’ve all embarked on extremely exciting and rewarding careers. Your ability to help people improve their lives is a gift; one that needs to be cherished, honed and continually nurtured. It’s our hope and expectation that you take full advantage of all that you’ve learned during your time at Salus and apply those skills with the utmost care and sensitivity to those patients and clients you will care for. As I’ll remind you on Friday, you’ll be surrounded by all sorts of technology to “assist” you in doing your jobs. It will be important to remember that these technologies are adjuncts to assist you in finding the best ways to care for your patients and clients. Remember, to treat your patients and not the technology!

Finally, when you chose healthcare as a profession you’ve also chosen a path that requires a commitment to life-long learning. Salus will always be your academic home and I want you to think of us that way. Never stop asking questions, challenging your assumptions and sharpening your skills. We’ll all be there to help you continue to succeed. Congratulations on a job exceptionally well done – we’re all very proud of you!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Singapore Graduation Ceremony & Alumni Weekend

Salus University Singapore Graduation Ceremony
I just returned from a wonderful trip to Singapore to officiate at what turned out to be our first official graduation ceremony for Salus Singaporean students (say that three times fast) earning their Master of Science degree in Clinical Optometry.

Salus University Alumni ReceptionGraduation ceremonies are chock full of many traditions that are well worth duplicating half a world away for such important celebrations. We're about to do the same on a much larger scale here in Philadelphia in a few weeks. We also decided to start the tradition of Singapore alumni receptions, and we planned our first one for the evening of the graduation ceremony. The reception was attended by members from all five graduating classes. What was striking to me, as well as the others who were traveling with me, was that our Singaporean students and alumni really appreciated the fact that we took the time and effort to conduct the graduation ceremony and then co-host the alumni event later that evening. They couldn't thank us enough. I told our hosts that it is generally considered a tradition to celebrate these types of events with pomp and circumstance as well as to have opportunities for alumni to get together to renew friendships and experiences. One could feel the excitement and pride in our Singaporean contingent, so much so that they've asked us to pledge to do this every two years. From my perspective, it was pretty cool to see the faces on our graduates' and their families' faces when they walked across the stage, as well as to watch everyone socialize later that evening. It was truly a successful evolution.

So, now to this tradition thing. We also celebrate these traditions here at Salus. Graduations occur twice annually and enable us to celebrate our students' academic accomplishments. We also have an annual alumni reunion to help continue to foster the bond between all of us. It's my belief that our alumni are the glue that helps to hold Salus together. As we grow new cadres of alumni in our newer specialties, I'm hoping that a true tradition of participation and inter-professional education and interaction becomes ingrained in our institutional DNA. 

From looking at alumni participation in some of our events, I don't believe that's the case today. Everyone gets so busy with everything else they have to do, I think it's easy to lose sight of the importance of maintaining or even developing new traditions as a University family. University traditions are important, as I believe they help to bind us as a University community both while here as students and later as alumni. 

We don't have a football or basketball team to draw us to an event but we do have alumni reunions, receptions, commencements and other events that do. I'm a strong advocate for participation in these to foster professional camaraderie as well as pride in our alma mater. These are all traditions that greatly matter. As Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof said, "Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as a Fiddler on the Roof!" Let's not ignore those traditions that can serve us so well - lest we risk becoming that shaky fiddler on the roof. 

Happy Alumni Weekend!