2020 December Commencement: School of Medicine

– [Announcer] And now from our flagship campus in Morgantown we welcome West Virginia University graduates, families and guests to our 150th commencement ceremony In keeping with national physical distancing recommendations during the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve created this special, virtual ceremony experience, to keep our community safe, while celebrating an incredible cohort of graduates Thank you for joining us to share this special event Today, we honor West Virginia University’s 2020 August and December graduates over 150 years after Marmaduke H. Dent became the university’s first graduate and alumnus No matter what the future holds, in these times we know it’s more important than ever to celebrate the challenges overcome, discoveries made, hard work and determination of our Mountaineers The graduates watching today have proven themselves over the course of their time at WVU We cannot wait to see what they accomplish in the bright futures that lie ahead for them Now, please join us in singing the National Anthem, as we honor our WVU ROTC students and veterans Young women and men who are committed to serving and safeguarding our nation and the world We’d also like to recognize and give our thanks to the frontline healthcare providers who continue to work tirelessly during this pandemic (“The Star-Spangled Banner”) Please welcome WVU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Marianne Reed – Good morning On behalf of West Virginia University’s faculty, staff, students, board of governors and administration, I’m pleased to welcome you to our December, 2020 virtual Mountaineer Graduation Day Today is a wonderful day, a day in which we celebrate a milestone achievement in your lives, finishing college or graduate school and moving on to the next chapter Now we realize this is not exactly the commencement ceremony that you were planning for, but it will certainly be the commencement you remember Over the past several years you have faced and overcome a myriad of challenges, but the COVID-19 pandemic may be the biggest disruption that you have experienced in your lifetime, but you’ve handled it You’ve adjusted to taking courses online You’ve figured out how to maintain a social life while social distancing, and you’ve kept alive your ambition, hopes and dreams In short, you have pivoted and adapted, and this says a lot about you and your ability to face the future whatever comes your way Please know that your WVU degree has value and so do you We have really enjoyed our time with you and we look forward to seeing where life’s journey takes you next But as excited as you are and probably a little scared to start that next chapter, be sure to take this moment to stop, take a breath and appreciate how far you’ve come You’ve earned your success through your hard work, dedication to personal growth, and your Mountaineer resiliency If our current situation has taught me anything, it is that while it’s important to plan ahead, it’s also important to acknowledge and appreciate the moment you’re in, as you are experiencing it,

because none of us really knows what the future holds So please take today to savor this moment and know that we couldn’t be prouder of you and your success and know that we will miss you terribly Good luck, stay safe and congratulations class of 2020 – Well, congratulations It’s been a long road and a very unusual one here recently but you’ve made it and we could not be prouder of you and parents and significant others and family members, congratulations too, this is a momentous occasion Graduates, I’d like to challenge you with a few different things for you to consider as you graduate Number one, I hope that you find your purpose The leadership guru, Simon Sinek said that all of us should start with why, start with our deep purpose Many people like Abraham Lincoln whose purpose was to put the country back together or Steve Jobs whose purpose was to put a ding in the universe, have changed things dramatically We know that from our own research, that is a strong sense of purpose is important in your health as well So the first challenge I have for you is find your purpose Find your why The second challenge I have for you, is understand that a single person can make a huge difference I’m reminded of a quick story, that is about a little boy who’s walking down the beach and sees a bunch of starfish that have washed up on the shore The little boy recognizes that these starfish will die if they don’t get back into the water and starts to place the starfish back one by one An older gentleman walks by and laughs at the little boy and says, “There’s no way you’re gonna get all those starfish in the ocean So you should stop wasting your time.” And the little boy said back to the gentlemen, “You may be right, but for the ones that I do help it will make a world of difference.” Never forget you as a single person can make a world of difference The third challenge I’d like for you to consider is the golden rule The golden rule is really the foundation of all of our world’s religions And it simply is, “Treat others as you would have them treat you.” And I would say to each one of you, I hope that you love yourself, not in an egocentric way, but in a healthy way, but if you don’t, let’s make sure that we apply the golden rule to treat others the way that you would want somebody you love treated My last challenge for you is to remember the song that we all cherish here at West Virginia University, which is “Simple Gifts.” We are all endowed with priceless gifts that we could not buy or purchase The odds against any one of us being alive is ten to the 2,640,000 power If you wanna see a miracle look in the mirror So sometimes it’s hard to remember that we all are blessed with so many priceless gifts until those gifts are gone And I wish for you, the ability to understand and appreciate these gifts, the ones on the inside versus being so focused on ones on the outside Less to-dos and more to-bes So graduates, whether you stay with us and wear the flying WV on your coat, on your shirt, or you just wear it in your heart Remember where your home, we love you God speed and best of luck – Today’s celebration wouldn’t be complete without words of inspiration from a legendary innovator and leader For 11 years, Brad Smith was at the helm of software giant Intuit As President and CEO, he led Intuit’s transformation from a North American desktop software company, to a global cloud-based company that offers financial platforms and products such as QuickBooks, Turbo Tax and Mint During his leadership, Intuit’s revenue doubled and it stock price increased more than 500% At the same time, the company focused on core values, such as courage, integrity, and giving back which contributed to it being named one of the best places to work year after year While Brad stepped down as CEO in 2019, somebody with his energy and drive, doesn’t just stop He continues to serve Intuit as the Executive Chairman of its Board of Directors and has launched new pursuits of his own He and his wife Alys, established the Wing 2 Wing Foundation an organization focused on advancing education, and entrepreneurship in regions where individuals and communities are often overlooked This new venture was born of a desire to pay it forward and to level the playing field for future generations Brad himself comes from humble origins

The Silicon Valley superstar was actually born and raised in Kenova, West Virginia A small town near Huntington with a population of under 4,000 people and less than two square miles in size He stayed local for his college career and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Marshall University He went on to earn his Master’s Degree in Leadership Development from Aquinas College in Michigan But no matter how far he’s flown, Brad has never forgotten his roots and the state he calls home in his heart Brad and Alys continue to give back to West Virginia With a $10 million gift, they established a scholarship at Marshall University for first-generation West Virginia and Ohio students A $25 million gift was also made to transform Marshall’s College of Business And just last year, they announced a new business incubator in Huntington, which will serve as a resource space for business innovators and students seeking entrepreneurial guidance and connection to the area’s larger business community You may also recognize Brad’s name from a recent WVU news story Just this fall, Brad and Alys made a transformational $25 million gift to WVU to fund an innovative new program aimed at igniting our state’s economy, developing a world-class infrastructure and expanding outdoor educational opportunities The newly named Brad and Alys Smith outdoor economic development collaborative was established with this donation, one of the largest in WVU history As president Gee said, this recent gift to the university is one that will help reshape our state’s future by reinventing our economy and creating more diverse, inclusive and purposeful communities in the region Brad credits his success in large part to those who believed in him, pushed him forward and lifted him up when he needed it most He is humble and kind and always willing to open the door for the next in line And lest I forget Brad Smith has an honorary doctorate degree from WVU I am truly honored to introduce the 2020 keynote speaker for your graduation celebration, Dr. Brad Smith – Thank you, Provost Reed, for your kind introduction You know, simply introducing me as Brad from Kenova, West Virginia would have been more than sufficient, ’cause when it’s all said and done I’m still that boy from a small hometown who spent the first 22 years of his life looking for a way out and everyday stands looking for a way back home Greetings to the amazing graduating class of 2020, to your friends and family members, to the faculty and Board of Governors It is an honor to be invited to speak with you today 2020 has been an unusual year to say the least, but of all the years I could have been honored to give a commencement address, I honestly would have chosen this one, because there’s much to celebrate This year has tested us in ways that will pay significant dividends in the future But there’s no question that the past 12 months have been a challenge We’ve endured natural disasters from fires in Australia and the West Coast of the United States, floods in Indonesia, earthquakes in Puerto Rico and Turkey, volcanoes in Mexico, Japan the Philippines, hurricanes along the Gulf Coast, heck we’ve even had a locus infestation And then came COVID-19 the great pandemic, with a continuing escalation of those who’ve been infected or passed away bringing tremendous grief and sadness Economies have been shut down jobs and entire businesses have been lost, major events have been postponed or canceled, and we’ve all had to adjust to a new normal Shelter in place, face masks, Zoom meetings, social distancing, distance learning, and the year is still not over In many ways, 2020 has been one of the great amplifiers for some and yet a great discriminator for others, disproportionally impacting certain demographic groups in geographic regions, exposing the inequity that surrounds us And yet here we stand, here you stand, the most blessed and the best prepared class of students in our nation’s history Yes, I said blessed, and I suspect that description may surprise you After all aren’t you the class that had your school year interrupted? Your spring break plans canceled? Your commencement ceremony moved to this virtual event? Internships postponed? And now you’re entering a job market that’s navigating this continued disruption and uncertainty Yes you are And it is these things that make you and your peers the most blessed and the best prepared class in our nation’s history That is if you choose to make it so

‘Cause having lived through these things has instilled in you three critical skills that are necessary for succeeding in the 21st century Adaptability, resilience and purpose Let me begin with adaptability To quote Charles Darwin, it is not the strongest of the species that survives nor the most intelligent that survives It’s the one that is the most adaptable to change One of the most sought after skills in the 21st century is discovery-driven thinking also known as design thinking It’s the ability to develop scenario plans versus a false precision to predicting the future with a singular plan or approach It requires developing multiple hypotheses, running rapid experiments and demonstrating an ability to pivot quickly if something isn’t working It’s the secret of success in the Silicon Valley With COVID-19 you’ve been living through the greatest application of discovery-driven thinking in the last 100 years You’re blessed The second in demand skill is resilience, and we’re simply stated grit Grit is defined as the combination of passion and perseverance in pursuit of your goal Winston Churchill was right when he famously stated that “The definition of success is the ability to go from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.” In fact, 90% of all successful startups in Silicon Valley failed on their first idea Success requires grit and given what you’ve lived through in 2020, you’ve developed unparalleled levels of grit and you’re blessed to have it Which takes me to the third critical skill, purpose Mark Twain once said, “The two most important days in your life are the day that you’re born and the day that you discover why.” The best time to figure out your purpose or your why is now In fact a book that I would recommend everyone read is “The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter- And How to Make the Most of Them Now” by Meg Jay I hope you’ll take the time to pause, read the book if you can, and reflect on the questions that it asks You’ll be amazed by the patterns and insights that will emerge In addition to having developed these three critical skills, you’re also graduating at an exciting time in West Virginia when a series of game-changing efforts are coming to fruition, like the Virgin Hyperloop, the outdoor economic development collaborative, a remote worker program and a heavy emphasis on becoming the startups state just to name a few All of these are in service to creating a new chapter So your generation will no longer feel the need to leave our state to find a job And West Virginia will no longer hope for companies to move offices here to create jobs Instead, we’re gonna take our destiny in our own hands, starting our own companies, recruiting employees from other companies to move here and work remotely in this beautiful state, where they can live, work and play They’ll bring with them their jobs, their talents, their families, their purchasing power, strengthening our communities and our economy all while investing in our outdoor recreational assets and preserving our natural environment along the way, which brings me full circle to you I know the events that have occurred in 2020 stink, but they prepared you with the three most critical skills for succeeding in the 21st century, adaptability, resilience and purpose They may feel like disadvantages now, but you’ll discover over time that they were indeed blessings, because the strongest steel is forged in the hottest fires and you are our best and brightest You are our hope of today and our leaders for tomorrow You are the dreams of your parents and the result of their love and sacrifice And you are proud Mountaineers, that special individual who goes first, blazing trails instead of following paths This is your time Commit to being the change you seek in our states and in our world and go put your dent in the universe You were made for this Congratulations class of 2020 We all celebrate you (bright music) – I am graduating Unbelievable you guys I have literally been dreaming of this, like this the moment I set foot into this country and moved to West Virginia to pursue my undergraduate studies And so this is a dream come true – The most important lesson I’ve taken from West Virginia is the importance of continuing to move forward, no matter what happens Failing is a part of the learning process, but the important part is to fail fast and learn from those mistakes and move forward – One of my most memorable moments at WVU was the first time

I ever did the ‘Let’s go Mountaineers” cheer at St Karl West Virginia and Milan Puskar Stadium It was for Monday night lights and even better we got to stand on the field and do the cheer which has been a dream of mine ever since I was a kid – The thing that I will miss the most about WVU is definitely gonna be pre-COVID game days because there’s nothing more exhilarating than singing “Country Roads” after a Mountaineer win – Being a student in the College of Creative Arts has helped me have some of the most memorable performances of my life In 2016, I was at the pride in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade And the next year I was with the Wind Symphony at Carnegie Hall for our first performance there – I think the most important thing I’ve learned from my time at WVU is every person I’ve encountered has wanted me to succeed – WVU taught me how to learn and in life in general I don’t think you ever stop learning Being able to adapt to different situations and just experiences in life has definitely prepared me not only in my career, but just in life in general – And I also love the person I’m becoming I came here in 2017, like I said, very confused, lost I knew what I was gonna study, I just didn’t know what I wanted to be, or what, what I wanted to do And I feel like this is the whole purpose of university, to help us discover what we wanna do and mission accomplished – What I’ll miss most about WVU is getting to meet people, students and faculty from all over the world – Through my program at WVU, my classmates and I have participated in numerous community service events that has helped bring the community together as well as raise awareness and raise funds for several foundations such as Relay for Life and Saving Second Base – What I really love about WVU is the passion that everyone has for WVU itself Oh my, everywhere you go it’s WVU-related which is really good ’cause it shows that the school spirit is always dear and will always be there – I’m just thrilled to be coming from this university, to start my life and, and I miss it already – All right everybody, here we go Our last time as students of the university Let’s go Mountaineers – Let’s go Mountaineers – Let’s go Mountaineers – Let’s go Mountaineers – Let’s go Mountaineers – Congratulations, class of 2020 As a fellow student, I understand how challenging this year has been However, as Mountaineers always do, you all prevailed You have shown just how resilient, intrepid and resolute you all are as individuals No matter your next step, be sure to continue in life with these values in mind Values that this university has equipped each and every one of you with during your time spent here in Morgantown In all sincerity, you all are incredibly inspiring people People like yourself are what make WVU such a special place So again, congratulations and best of luck Mountaineers – Good morning, 2020 Mountaineer graduates, families and friends When I spoke to last year’s December graduates, I did so via a pre-recorded video as I prepared for hip surgery After 40 years in higher education I felt certain that would be the one and only commencement address I delivered remotely Well, I was wrong, but surely May 2020’s video commencement would be the last of its kind I’ve decided to leave prognosticating to groundhogs and cable news pundits I’m so sorry that we cannot gather in person on this most important occasion in your life and our university’s life As you continue to traveling toward your dreams in the years ahead, you will understand better than any class before you, that the journey can make shocking and unexpected detours 2020 has gained a reputation as a particularly unpleasant year, throwing at us everything from bitter election battles, to the loss of Alex Trebek While the current global crisis caused by COVID-19 is unprecedented, it reminds us of the many hardships that West Virginia University students have overcome on their paths to graduation from wars, to economic depressions, to national tragedies The class of 2002, which graduated into a world rocked by 9/11, heard from entrepreneur and technology leader, Ray Lane about creating positive disruption in perilous times His keynote speech included a vision of new educational models All lectures, all books, all research, all teachers available to everyone everywhere all the time Imagine everyone in the world being able to take courses

from the best teachers in the world, a sort of virtual university Yes, just imagine 60 years earlier, many members of the class of 1942 transitioned directly from college into history’s deadliest war 75 years before that, the very first West Virginia University students arrived on campus, only two years after civil war battlefields had fallen still Our land-grant university emerged from that dark period, during which president Abraham Lincoln recognized the unbreakable link between education and human progress He signed an Act that opened the American dream to more people than ever before Grit and determination have always fueled Mountaineers That spirit empowered your quest for a degree and it will sustain you during this difficult time But as the word commencement implies, your real journey is only now beginning Whether the next step is continuing your education or launching your career, no matter what the world’s state all graduates embark on a similar quest Life is about finding your purpose and making sure your choices serve that purpose Is your goal healing the sick? Inspiring others with your artistic vision? Shattering the status quo with the next high-tech innovation? Whatever path you choose, the education you received at West Virginia University will guide you to ever higher summits The skills and strengths you hone here will drive you onward And with your unique passion inspiring you, you will excel You will achieve success and you will gain the kind of happiness that lasts along the way The hopes and goodwill of our one West Virginia University family will always accompany you And even under these unique circumstances, I would not send you out into this great big world without the benefit of my wisdom So here we go In confusing times, sticking to a routine keeps your life under control So even if you are working remotely, wear different pants every day than the ones you slept in overnight Follow actor W C Field’s admonition to avoid working with children or animals or at least avoid letting them interrupt your Zoom meetings Let this period of social distancing remind you how precious human connections are, instead of returning to normal life when this pandemic is over, build a richer one with less texting and more togetherness Take comfort in knowing that your graduation will stand out from that of most other Mountaineers before and after you You can bore everyone by talking about it for decades to come Be glad that you have already learned an important lesson Life will not always go according to plan And that is okay Even if you make a few detours, your inner calling will always lead you to the perfect destination And you will always always count this moment among the best things to emerge from this strange and challenging year Congratulations to the class of 2020 – President Gee, I am honored to present to you the candidates for graduation who have met the degree requirements of the School of Medicine at West Virginia University – [Announcer] Alexander James Albuquerque, Wail Ali, Marissa Nicole Alvarez, Nicole Bantin, Henna Sarla Bhatia, Cameron Christopher Blaquiere, Ryan Edward Bolyard, Joshua Brian bombard Chester Lee Bradsher, Tayvia Brownmiller, Sabrina Burtner, Nathaniel Gage Cook, Samuel Earl Crow, Galianna Davila, Regan Leigh Detamore, Margaret Lee Dransfeld, Rhae Eisenman Lisa Ann Eller, Katelyn Nicole Evans, Aaron Christopher Hunt, Kevin Samuel Hyatt, Madalyne Blake James, Alissa Lynn Johnson, Kyle Charles-Anthony Kalomeris, Jacob Tyler Kitchen Olivia Knisely, Audrey Marie-Noelle Krawczyk, Elizabeth Hannah Little, Dominic Angelo Lombardo, Ian Philip MacFawn, Megan Marie Mangiafico,

Jenna Lee Mcgloin, Rehab Othman H Mohamed, Dilip Nagisetty, Swarna Rajagopalan, Emily Katherine Ringler Casey Ellen Schlachter, Maeve Malley Schlichting, Eric Ryan Schweitzer, Cassidy Rae Senskey, Ethan Benjamin Shim, Deidre Anne Simmonsm Gina Lee Sizemore, Leah Dawn Stern Heath G Stevens, Riley Alexis Stowers, Andrew Wilhelm Strobl, Christina Elizabeth Sundar Brett Alan Svites, Abigail Nicole Szelong, Tyler James Thornburg, Jocelyn Marie Tongue, Tyra. I. Turner, Hannah Nicole Willet, Lauren Taylor Williams-Wiles, David Jackson Roth, Eiman Aboaziza, Elizabeth Anne Albuquerque, Alexander Alan Alger, Logan Marie Andrews, Brianna Marie Baldwin John Taylor Baumgartner, Rachel Nicole Black, Erica Briggs, Amelia Marie Brugnoli, Roger Nicholas Burdette Nicole Camelo, Jonathan Thomas Cobb, Faith Joanne Coleman Larry Joseph Cook, Luke James Corbin Justin Marie Ellis Mohl, Richard Emanuel, Joseph Alfred Enfonde, Peter David Farjo, Heather Ferranti, Mara Joy Fevig, Ryan M. Fiano, Hope Alexis Fisher, Andrew Thomas Flick, Catherine Ann Gambill, Nora Abdallah Hamdi, Ciara Brooke Hampton, Zachary Brian Hannah, Russell Lee Hardesty Jr Benjamin Thomas Harron, Jana Lynn Hatfield, Jeremy Shayne Hensley, Dakota Richard Jackson, Evan William Kerr, Timur Oskarovich Khaliullin, Ahmad Khan, Safi Ullah Khan, Ashish Koirala, Jake Konchesky, Alexander Scott Krohn, Blair Nichole Lewis, Jason Louie, Brandy Marie McCarriher, Kolin Matthew Meehan, Lisa Maria Mickley, Alondra Rodriguez Miller, James Tyler Minton Sloan Erle Nesbit, Mackenzie Shelby Newman, Deidre Elyse O’Dell, Carly Elizabeth Oliver, Brennen William Papenberg, Jena Leigh Peters, Dana Nicole Pfeiffer, Dominic Dimitri Quintana, Travis Wayne Rawson, Sarah Alexandra Reppert, Jena Marie Riccelli, Brice R. Rjasko, Baylee Alison Rose, Mckenna Taylor Rusnock-Rozzi, Brittney Marie Schrock, Emel Sen Kilic, Jonathan Shakesprere, Sarah Margaret Shannon, Ty Johns Sicurella, Skye Eleanor Smith Tiffiny Nicole Stryker, Jordan Leigh Taylor, Jonnie Skyler Upton, Bethany Anne Wehner Kristina Marinak Whately, Jordan Douglas Wheatley Congratulations to the graduates from the School of Medicine – So graduates, please rise By virtue of the authority vested in me by West Virginia University’s Board of Governors, I hereby confer upon you the degree for which you have been recommended with all the rights, honors and privileges appertaining thereto As West Virginia University’s newest graduates, bachelor’s may move your tassels to the left side of your cap as a symbol of your achievement Ladies and gentleman, please join me in congratulating our newest graduates (crowd applauding) ♪ Almost heaven, West Virginia ♪

♪ Blue Ridge Mountain, Shenandoah River ♪ ♪ Life is old there, older than the trees ♪ ♪ Younger than the mountains, growing like a breeze ♪ ♪ Country roads, take me home ♪ ♪ To the place I belong ♪ ♪ West Virginia, mountain mama ♪ ♪ Take me home, country roads ♪ ♪ All my memories gather round her ♪ ♪ Miner’s lady, stranger to blue water ♪ ♪ Dark and dusty, painted on the sky ♪ ♪ Misty taste of moonshine, teardrop in my eye ♪ ♪ Country roads, take me home ♪ ♪ To the place I belong ♪ ♪ West Virginia, mountain mama ♪ ♪ Take me home, country roads ♪ ♪ I hear her voice in the mornin’ hour, she calls me ♪ ♪ The radio reminds me of my home far away ♪ ♪ Drivin’ down the road, I get a feelin ♪ ♪ That I should’ve been home yesterday, yesterday ♪ ♪ Country roads, take me home ♪ ♪ To the place I belong ♪ ♪ West Virginia, mountain mama ♪ ♪ Take me home, country roads ♪ ♪ Country roads, take me home ♪ ♪ To the place I belong ♪ ♪ West Virginia, mountain mama ♪ ♪ Take me home, country roads ♪ ♪ Take me home, country roads ♪ ♪ Take me home, country roads ♪ – [Announcer] Congratulations to the class of 2020 Always remember this is your home among the hills And no matter how far you roam, once a Mountaineer, always a Mountaineer We cannot wait to welcome you back to campus soon as official alumni of West Virginia University Feel free to share your own version of the beloved, “Take Me Home Country Road” song, via social media Be sure to tag it with the hashtag WVUgrad ♪ West Virginia U. ♪