The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine welcomed 40 new doctors during its fourth commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 6.

The graduation speaker was Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N. Wakefield was appointed in March 2015 by President Barack Obama to serve as the Acting Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). As a senior government official, she was responsible for overseeing management and operations of HHS, a department with a $1 trillion budget and 80,000 employees. In addition, she led strategic department-wide initiatives in key health policy areas, with a particular focus on programs for vulnerable populations.

Wakefield told the graduates "You have forged a lifelong tie with this incredibly innovative medical school."

The event also featured two students, Kevin McGurk and Chris McLaughlin, who were voted upon by their classmates to speak at graduation; Chris Vieau, an alumnus from the school’s charter class, who is finishing his residency in family practice at Carolinas Medical Center; and John C. Perkins, MD, associate professor of emergency medicine, who was selected by the graduating class to speak on behalf of the school’s faculty.

This summer the new doctors will begin residency programs representing 13 specialties in 16 states. The most represented specialties among the class include internal medicine, pediatrics, and general surgery.

Written by Catherine Doss