Scenes from the 2023 School Commencement Ceremonies

In individual ceremonies following the morning all-university event, schools across Tufts presented degrees to more than 2,800 graduates.

Throughout the day on May 21, individual degree ceremonies and luncheons were held by departments in the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, and the graduate and professional schools. Long into the afternoon, cheers and applause could be heard in tents and auditoriums across the Medford/Somerville campus and as far away as Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in Grafton as names were called out and graduates accepted their hard-won degrees. 

The Fletcher School

At The Fletcher School’s 90th commencement, Finland’s Foreign Minister, Pekka Olavi Haavisto, urged graduates to use their skills to promote global peace and well-being.

“I encourage each of you to find your own way to make a difference,” he said. Reflecting on Finland’s recent swift acceptance into NATO, which followed neighboring Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Haavisto described watching the Finnish flag being raised in Brussels, among the flags of the 30 other member states. He called on graduates to “work together across borders” to forge solutions, not only to global security challenges, but also to problems such as climate change and biodiversity loss.

In other remarks, research professor Dyan Mazurana, winner of the James L. Paddock Teaching Award, described how gender, race, class, and other social divisions affect international law, armed conflict, humanitarian assistance, and other issues studied at Fletcher—and how graduates of the school are advancing equity. “Being able to apply a gender and intersectional perspective helps us think and act smarter in facing such challenges,” she said.

The School’s Commencement weekend included the presentation of the Fletcher Women’s Leadership Award on Saturday to Amal Jadou, F09, deputy minister of foreign affairs and expatriates of the state of Palestine, and Monica Ruiz, F17, senior government affairs manager, digital diplomacy, at Microsoft.

In her State of the School address on May 20, Fletcher School Dean Rachel Kyte, F02, also announced plans to celebrate the school’s 90th anniversary with a series of upcoming events.

—Heather Stephenson

Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

The 41st commencement at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine was celebrated on the Grafton campus with degrees bestowed to 147 graduates, including Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and master’s degrees.   

This year’s faculty speaker was Francisco Conrado, assistant professor in the Department of Comparative Pathobiology at Cummings School and faculty co-chair of the Tufts Veterinary Council on Diversity. He encouraged students not to miss the forest for the trees and to stay true to their unique selves. 

When you get caught in the minutiae of your struggles, on that small thing that went wrong, don’t let it ruin your day. Take a deep breath and give yourself a break. Don’t compare yourself to the next veterinarian, and don’t set your pace based on someone else’s,” he said. 

As a newly minted veterinarian, class speaker Raina D’Orazio, V23, commented on how strange it is to hear the title of “Doctor” precede her name, and she implored the other graduates to hold onto their “shared gift of compassion,” she said. “Compassion is a word that is used a lot in reference to our line of work. I challenge us all to never lose that, and to maintain the humility, vulnerability, and sense of humor that it requires.”  

 —Angela Nelson

School of Medicine (including Graduate Programs) and Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Overcoming the challenges of the pandemic was the theme of the 131st commencement of the School of Medicine and the 43rd commencement of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, held on May 21 in the Gantcher Center.

When the class arrived in 2019, daily worries were limited to getting to class on time and where to meet friends for dinner, said Helen Boucher, dean of the School of Medicine. Then the pandemic struck. “You saw this crisis, this ultimate test, and you asked for a pair of gloves,” she said. “You immediately saw how to pivot with unmatched agility during a pandemic that left so many directionless.”

Other speakers included Daniel Jay, dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Ganeev Singh, School of Medicine class president; and GSBS student speaker, Rachael Ryner.

During her address, Ryner encouraged the Class of 2023 to consider the idea that maybe imposter syndrome isn’t real, and how that realization helped her embrace her inherent worth as she worked toward a doctorate.

“The very fact that we feel these doubts is proof that we have pushed ourselves beyond our comfort zones, challenging the boundaries of knowledge and expertise,” Ryner reflected. “It is in this discomfort that growth takes place.”

The School of Medicine celebrated the accomplishments of Graduate Program students at a separate ceremony.

Guest speaker Michael Curry, president and CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, addressed the Class of 2023, along with a trio of graduates from the Master of Public Health program. Ciana Hartman, Samantha Menino, and Monica Morgan spoke to the importance of the three stages of disease prevention.

“Throughout our time in the program, we have been in a constant state of preparation for the next stage and/or trying to balance as much as we can all at once,” Menino said. “While the balancing act may never end, the constant preparation for our next stage might.”

 —Emily Wright Brognano

School of Dental Medicine

The 238 members of the School of Dental Medicine’s D23 Class learned to practice their profession in the midst of a public health crisis that brought unique clinical challenges to the dental school, and to dentistry in general. As they received their DMD degrees on May 21, the graduates reflected on their sometimes-unexpected journey, and the promise of their new careers.

“We took the challenges as they came. We laughed together and cried together,” said Arooj Sarfraz, president of the DI international student cohort. “We are ready for the next chapter in our lives. It is now our responsibility to commit to a lifelong journey of innovation and adaptability. There are successes that are measured not just by professional achievement, but by the positive influence we have on people’s lives.” 

The school also granted seven Master of Science degrees, and awarded emeritus status to three long-time professors, Gerard Kugel, D85, MSD93, Maria Papageorge, D82, DG86, DG89, and Michael Thompson.

—Helene Ragovin

Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

More than 110 students graduated from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in a ceremony at Cohen Auditorium on May 21. Graduates received 16 doctoral degrees, 82 Master of Science degrees, and 16 Master of Nutrition Science and Policy degrees.

The keynote speaker was Sheldon Lloyd, co-owner and CEO of City Fresh Foods, a Boston-based Black- and employee-owned food service business that provides high-quality and nutritious meals for students, seniors, and other vulnerable people in the region.

The student speaker was Ryan Simpson, who graduated in August 2022 with a Ph.D. in nutrition epidemiology and data sciences and is now a health care economics and outcomes research associate in the Boston office of Analysis Group. At the Friedman School, Simpson did research and coordination for the Tufts Initiative for the Forecasting and Modeling of Infectious Diseases with his advisor and colleague Elena Naumova, and helped organize the Tufts Nutrition Data Summit.

Monica Jimenez 

Back to Top