I am honored and thrilled to be the President of your Alumni Association! I follow the rich tradition and great leadership of past presidents including Thomas P. McGovern, M.D. '74 (2002-04), the late Kenneth G. Swan, M.D. '60 (2004-06), Gene D. Resnick, M.D. '74 (2006-08), Hazel H. Szeto, M.D., Ph.D.'77 (2008-10), Michael M. Alexiades, M.D. '83 (2010-12), and R. Ernest Sosa, M.D. '78 (2012-14), among many others, all who have been friends and inspirations.
For me, the Alumni Association is all about making a connection to your alma mater. My own personal connection comes from frequent reflections on many gratifying medical moments that highlight the great joys of being a physician. This is followed by the realization these rewards are in part related to the great relationships with Weill Cornell classmates. Working with the Alumni Association over the past 10 years has been a great way to express my joy and appreciation. Certainly one of the capstones of this work was celebrated at Reunion 2014 in October. We not only established an all-time record for attendance (391 alumni and a total of 489 attendees!) but, during the panel discussions, we heard many classmates spontaneously share their deeply personal "true north" experiences about mentorship, leadership, compassion and empathy. It was a moving experience and perfectly captured the fulfilling nature of volunteer work with the Alumni Association.
Another memorable Reunion 2014 moment - I had the honor to present a Special Achievement Award to Father Peter Le Jacq, M.D. 81. I spent hours with Peter in anatomy lab way back in 1976. From this very humble beginning, Father Le Jacq went on to establish the Weill Bugando Medical School in Tanzania. In 1990, there were only 15 physicians to treat 10 million Tanzanians. Today, the medical center trains over 600 physicians and cares for thousands of people who never had access to medical care! His stories about treating the children and how they related to watching The Lion King were riveting and touching.
Many alumni have spoken about circumstances that keep them from reconnecting. My goal is to enhance the experience of reconnecting with Weill Cornell so that all feel welcomed and even "recruited." One of the obstacles is distance - while many of our alumni live in the NY metropolitan area, a great many more live farther away. To this end, please look for different "outreach" events. Last year, the Office of Alumni Relations sponsored dinners in Los Angeles, Providence, Baltimore, Washington DC, Chapel Hill, New Jersey and Westchester, New York. These intimate gatherings are a fantastic opportunity to get an update on Medical College developments and to meet alumni in your area.
Another major goal will be to continue the passion for supporting our current students. We want to support our alumni "from cradle to grave" and one of the best times to insert the DNA of the Alumni Association is while the students are in the "cradle." For example, we support Alumni to Student Knowledge (ASK) sessions which feature speakers in different specialties allowing for students to ask candid questions in a relaxed environment. For those who attended Reunion 2014, you will remember the panel discussion on "what did you learn AFTER medical school that you wished you learned DURING medical school?" - we want to support that discussion when there is still time during school. The Alumni Association also supports student programing organized by the Medical Student Executive committee (MSEC), the White Coat Ceremony, the Stethoscope Initiative, Family Day, and this year, a welcome reception during Orientation for the incoming medical students.
The opportunity to serve you over the next two years is very exciting! I hope that you will contact me personally or any of our great staff in the Alumni Office if you have a concern or perhaps an idea that will help you connect with Weill Cornell.