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Graduates of the University of Hawaii Medical School took part in special ceremony at the Kennedy Theater on Sunday.
Hawaii’s newest MDs, 55 of them, were introduced as doctors after completing their four-year program.
Each of them has a story to tell of their journey to make it to this day.
But perhaps one of the most touching is a young man who was born in a refugee camp in Vietnam who has worked to create a bright future.
“It speaks volumes to the support I got from my family friends and everyone. Coming here life wasn’t the best for us to begin with, but they kept supporting me financially as well as emotionally. This speaks to them more than it speaks to my accomplishments today,” said Chuong Tran, UH School of Medicine graduate.
One of the speakers who stepped up to the podium to congratulate this MD class of 2013 was President of the University of Hawaii MRC Greenwood.
This was her first TV appearance since she announced her retirement last week.
As she addressed the MD class of 2013 she told them they hold a very special place in her heart because she began her service at the University four years ago as this class entered, and says in many ways they are graduating together.
Graduations represent the completion of a journey and the beginning of a new one.
A symbolic moment for MRC Greenwood as she wraps up her term as UH’s president and makes plan for her next chapter as a faculty member for UH’s John A. Burns School of Medicine.
“We started together this is their commencement into their new career, and it is poignant to me for some of the same reasons,” Greenwood said.
Greenwood will be retiring this September as the 14th president and first female CEO of the university.
With two years left on her $475,000 annual contract, she reiterated her statement last week that she wants to focus more on her health and her family.
“I think there’s always a time in one’s life, when one has to take stock and say I’ve been doing. It’s now time for family, time for reflection, time to write and teach,” she said.
And although the University has been plagued with criticism over the Stevie Wonder concert fiasco and come under fire from the Senate’s Committee on Accountability, she hopes she will be remembered by her many accomplishments.
“We finished the cancer center. We opened a new campus. We have graduation rates higher than they’ve ever been before,” she highlighted.
She says she won’t stop there.
“I am a tenured member of the medical school faculty, so as long as I am capable and able, I will probably be serving the University in that capacity,” said Greenwood.
After taking a year off, she plans on going back to her roots as a researcher and professor with terms and a paycheck amount that she would not disclose.
But a move that the Dean of JABSOM says they will greatly benefit from.
“As you know her content area is diabetes and obesity a significant issue here in Hawaii and needs to be addressed throughout the Pacific,” said Dr. Jerris Hedges, JABSOM Dean.
But for now she’s looking forward to spending the rest of this Mother’s Day with her family and the people who she says have always been her number one supporters.
“My family is ecstatic, they’ve been waiting for me to do this for a while and they’re very happy I’ll have more time for them and I’m going to be able to travel and visit with the grandchildren,” said Greenwood.
The UH Board of Regents is scheduled to meet on Thursday.
The first thing on the agenda for the executive session, which is closed to the public, is to discuss the vacancy for president.