Commencement 2014: Alumni Association President Anthony Dias address

May 29, 2014

Thank you Dean Frenk!

Graduates of the class of 2014, proud parents and families, honored guests, friends, esteemed faculty and staff, honorable Dean Dr. Julio Frenk, and distinguished commencement speaker Dr. Tom Frieden:

As President of the Alumni Association of the Harvard School of Public Health during this centennial year, I am honored to formally welcome you as new members of our alumni association on behalf of more than 14,000 alumni who came before you. I congratulate you on your success and salute you for your commitment to public health.

As you venture forth to innovate, lead, contribute and reform public health, let us remind ourselves that our alumni continue to lead in a tradition of phenomenal contributions and achievements in the field of public health. You are now stepping into that tradition and you symbolize all those who came before you and all those yet to follow. And as you follow alumni before you, there will be others who will follow you, your great achievements and your adventurous path. Alumni of the Harvard School of Public Health, with its proud history, will be there to support you as you apply your training to face and address the complexities of public health.

Today, an important strategy is unraveling in healthcare to leverage Big Data analytics and harness the unparalleled amounts of data that is generated with potential information in healthcare for a better understanding of disease prevention, health and wellness, as well as healthcare quality, patient safety and health care costs. Public health researchers at Harvard have advanced the role of Big Data and are applying these analytics to everything from evaluating the spread of disease and associated risk factors to enhancing response capabilities during humanitarian emergencies for better health outcomes. That is why we will be dedicating the Alumni Weekend in October this year to the theme “Big Data: from numbers to knowledge to action.

As Dean Frenk reminds us, in public health, it’s our job to see the big in the small, the universal in the particular. I believe that as you go about creating a better world for future generations as leaders in public health, it will require an acute focus on building upon ongoing innovation. In healthcare it will need collaboration with care providers to make considerable impacts on the population they serve. Better health starts in our own communities and will need your initiative, leadership and persistence.

As new alumni, I urge you to engage in alumni activities by volunteering your time, by participating in the work done by our committees, and enjoying events hosted across the globe. I implore you to maintain your ties to the school this way, and enhance your Harvard School of Public Health experience through a sustained relationship with its alumni association.

Our alumni are mobilized all over the world and some of them started on their commencement day as they ventured forth to lead, direct, coach and innovate in the field of public health. As you join the global public health community, I urge you to anchor yourself to the Harvard School of Public Health and embrace the objectives of our alumni association to support our future students as well as Dean Frenk’s vision for our school. As you focus on solving challenges faced in the field of public health, you will find yourself strengthened by the friendships you started building at this school and will continue to be supported by the alumni network throughout your career.

I feel nostalgic today in a moment of self-reflection. In this centennial year, I am honored to be here on behalf of our alumni and proud of their significant role in the past 100 years of our school’s history. I started working with the alumni association as soon as I graduated in 2004 and I believe my life has been enriched because of my continued involvement with this school and the fulfilling relationships I have cultivated through the vast network of our global alumni.

In the past decade, there have been increasing numbers of young and new alumni, such as yourselves, actively engaged in various alumni activities with a desire to give back in some way. Today, as you join the fold, our alumni are ready to support you as you embark on your career path. We are a diverse group of global alumni who share the love of our education at Harvard School of Public Health and we have so much to be proud of. In this age of connectivity fostered by advanced technologies and social media, we have to stay connected. Join HSPH Facebook and LinkedIn groups and share your news and life experiences on the alumni section of the school’s website. Some of the ways that our alumni engage are through participation in alumni events and programs sponsored by our regional chapters, membership on the alumni committees and council, mentoring students, hosting practice placements, facilitating career opportunities, and alumni giving.

Class of 2014, as you embark in life and carry public health service to every corner of the world, I wish you the very best in your career and greatness in the years ahead of you. As you dream, explore and discover, I hope you will stay connected with the school and alumni association, so we can cheer you on and celebrate your successes. On behalf of the Harvard School of Public Health Alumni Association, I congratulate you and wish you all the best in all your future endeavors.

Office of Communications

Additional Coverage

Centennial closing symposium
Award winners
Commencement Eve Celebration photo gallery
‘Make the impossible possible,’ graduates told
Commencement 2014 photo gallery
Commencement 2014 slideshow
Dean Julio Frenk address
Student speaker Jacqueline Murdoch address