We just wrapped up our Graduation Celebration Week! The many special events kicked off with student-organized outdoor activities each day, including visits to downtown Durham and Duke Gardens, a campus walk joined by Director Mark Oldham, and even a round of golf at Duke University Golf Club with DGS Dean Darnell! We were privileged to host a “fireside chat” with Jim Dobbins, who is current President of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine and our founding Director. Finally, Administrative Coordinator Olga Baranova arranged for professional photo portraits to be taken in front of Duke Chapel. Our graduates relished these opportunities to finally gather as a group in person.
On May 8, we held a special event, “A Celebration Honoring the Class of 2021,” attended by over 100 from all over the world including families from China and Australia where it ended at 3 AM local time! We shortened the ceremony, livened up the Zoom event with interlude videos, and put the focus back on our graduates. After opening words of encouragement from Director Oldham, the program proceeded to short videos highlighting the students’ research, followed by heartfelt words of appreciation from advisors and graduates. Following tradition, we ended with a farewell slideshow, created this year by PhD student Xinyi Li, and the sharing of surprise gifts prepared by Dr. Baranova and program coordinator Katherine Hand. After the graduation event, we gathered for an unofficial celebration at Boxcar Bar + Arcade.
This weeklong celebration was organized by Associate Director Joseph Lo and the entire executive team named above, but we couldn’t have done it without the extraordinary help from graduates Ericka Chorniak and Zach Gude who volunteered to organize many of these events. To our 17 MS and 6 PhD graduates of our Class of 2021 – we are so proud of all of you, and we will miss you!