"There are very few colleges in the country where the President comes to greet the freshman medical school class - this is one of them," said Dartmouth Medical School (DMS) Dean Stephen Spielberg at the DMS Orientation for the Class of 2009 on Aug. 8. He encouraged the new students to take their education and their future responsibilities as doctors seriously. "This is an environment that will challenge you to the utmost," he said, "but you will have support. You will have many excellent role models here."
In his own welcome remarks, President James Wright congratulated the physicians-to-be on their admission to DMS and said that he and other members of the Dartmouth community must also "congratulate ourselves for the pleasure of your company."
Wright's comments included some personal touches. "Over the weekend, I read each of the personal statements you submitted with your medical school applications," he said. Addressing many of the accomplishments and interests, backgrounds and ideals of the students directly, Wright spoke to the diversity of the incoming class. He noted that the 82 students, including six Dartmouth alumni, were selected from 4,537 applicants and concluded that each offered something unique to the College. "I've always liked beginnings," said Wright. "This is a good beginning."
After recounting a brief history of DMS, founded in 1797 by Nathan Smith, Wright encouraged the students to embrace Smith's spirit in their work by mixing "kindness and wisdom and an abiding concern for your patients. I would submit that despite two centuries of medical change the nature of service in medicine is the same, to provide an enduring compassion for patients.
"You competed mightily to get here," he added, "but now that you are here you don't need to compete with each other any longer. Now is the time when you should work together, learn from each other and enjoy the challenges and discoveries you will face together.
"I hope you feel as much a part of Dartmouth as you do the medical school," he said. "This is a place made more special by you being here."
By JOEL AALBERTS
Questions or comments about this article? We welcome your feedback.
Last Updated: 12/17/08