103 Boonshoft medical students make the most of virtual graduation day

Rinki Goswami graduated from the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine on Saturday. Goswami’s family watched the virtual graduation ceremony together as her father ceremoniously “hooded” her at Cox Arboretum MetroPark. CONTRIBUTED.
Rinki Goswami graduated from the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine on Saturday. Goswami’s family watched the virtual graduation ceremony together as her father ceremoniously “hooded” her at Cox Arboretum MetroPark. CONTRIBUTED.

Wright State Boonshoft School of Medicine held its first ever virtual graduation ceremony on Saturday.

This year’s graduating class included 103 medical students. Gary LeRoy, the Boonshoft associate dean for student affairs and admission, said this year’s class now has something more special than a traditional graduation ceremony.

“They are coming into medicine during a monumental time in world history that cannot be reproduced by reading a book or looking at a video tape,” LeRoy said. “They’re living that and they’re going to be the front line soldiers out there fighting this pandemic for the next few months or maybe years. They are literally graduating into a very unique time in the history of human kind.”

Rinki Goswami, a graduating Boonshoft student from Beavercreek, and her family watched the live stream of the ceremony from home. Then because of Saturday’s beautiful weather, they headed to Cox Arboretum MetroPark so her father, also a doctor, could ceremoniously “hood” his daughter, as is tradition for graduating medical students.

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Saturday was the 40th anniversary of the first Boonshoft graduating class.

Though completely virtual, LeRoy, Wright State University President Susan Edwards, Boonshoft Dean Margaret Dunn and associate dean for medical education, Brenda Roman pre-recorded parts of the ceremony as if it were taking place live at a studio on campus. Announcements were sent to alumni and friends of the Boonshoft, living around the world, to invite them to tune in.

The faculty were wearing full cap and gown regalia and were appropriately distanced apart to follow social distancing orders in the studio.

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If not for the COVID-19 pandemic, the school would have held its ceremony at the Schuster Center in downtown Dayton.

“Obviously doing it at the Schuster Center was something we were looking forward to since we got our white coat,” said Inke Goswami, graduating Boonshoft student. “The day we got our white coat, they sent us a countdown of how many days until we were back on stage to get our hoods, which was really sweet and it’s a little disappointing not to be able to get to do that.”

To make up for lost fourth year moments together, Goswami said the class has been taking time to send each other notes of congratulations and heartfelt messages since the coronavirus crisis began.

“Obviously we completely understand why we had to do it this way,” Goswami said. “But, we were a little disappointed because fourth year is very busy and a lot of us do away rotations. So we don’t spend a lot of time together the way we do the first three years.”

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