Commencement 2016

Photos: Kent Dayton / Harvard Chan
Photos: Kent Dayton / Harvard Chan

Students urged to lead a life of “service and integrity”

You don’t have to be in a high-profile role to be a leader in public health. That was the message from Acting Dean David Hunter, MPH ’85, SD ’88, to graduates gathered at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s 2016 Commencement Ceremony on May 26. “There is also another important type of leadership—one that does not necessarily come with public prominence,” Hunter said. “Rather, it’s about leading by example … leading a life of service and integrity, with potentially vast ripple effects.”

Commencement speaker Donna Shalala, president of the Clinton Foundation and former U.S. secretary for health and human services, urged graduates to “make our case to our citizens much more clearly on why a strong health infrastructure, including the preparation of the next generation of health workers, is so important.”

Student speaker Yu Na, who earned an MPH focusing on access to quality and affordable health care for marginalized communities, encouraged her fellow graduates to “bring Kresge Café to your community” by inviting to the table “not only the decision makers but also the voiceless, the silenced, and the underserved, so that you will understand … the barriers to health in your community.”

M. Rashad Massoud, MPH ’93, president-elect of the Alumni Council, noted that the graduates are entering the field of public health at a time of new challenges, such as the Ebola outbreak, which made clear that health systems must be strengthened around the world.