The title Doctor of Medicine was conferred upon 587 students, who have successfully passed their final exams at the Faculty of Medicine. The graduation ceremony took place at the Papp László Budapest Sportaréna, where Dr. Béla Merkely, Rector and Dr. László Hunyady, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine congratulated the newly conferred doctors.

During the Graduation Ceremony of the Faculty of Medicine the title Doctor of Medicine was conferred upon 371 Hungarian and 216 international medical students, out of whom 156 finished the English language programme and 60 the German language programme. The graduating international medical students come from 34 different countries.

Péter Turai, a candidate of Doctor of Medicine submitted the conferment request and then students took their solemn oath in three languages promising that they would fulfill all aspects of their duties with utmost diligence. Following the oath, Dr. Béla Merkely, Rector invited Dr. László Hunyady, Dean to confer upon the graduating students the degree of Doctor of Medicine. The title grants all the rights and duties that doctors are entitled to according to Hungarian law. Dr. Béla Merkely and Dr. László Hunyady congratulated every newly conferred doctor with a handshake. On behalf of the new doctors, Dr. Péter Turai thanked for the conferment and promised that they would do everything in their power to serve science, health care, humanity and their country.

Dr. Kata Klára Gyulay addressed the audience on behalf of the students graduating in the Hungarian language programme. She spoke about how the role of communities and team work were essential during their studies at the university and continue to be so in the medical profession.

“We overcame difficulties by leaning on each other and benefited a lot from the power of community. Medical profession is also about team work,” she said.

She thanked their teachers for the knowledge they received from them, their family and friends for their support, and gave special thanks to Andrea Zsiskó, the administrator of their class.

Dr. Thomas Winkler spoke on behalf of the students graduating in the German language programme.

“The university taught us not only how to study but how to surpass our limits and explore new territories,” he said.

On behalf of the students graduating in the English language programme two doctors held their speeches. Dr. Vrentzou Maria spoke about the significance of this moment that she saw as the end of a chapter but not that of the road.

“We had to give up on a lot of things, but at the end of the day it was worth it. It is really important to work on personality development to become open to challenges, to be humble and brave, to stand with those in need and to become doctors who fellow students will always be proud of,” she said.

Dr. Turan Caner spoke about why he loved to be part of an international university where students from all continents can be found. “The world is full of suffering, diseases, disabilities and hatred. But now we have become doctors, we are here to face these challenges. Suffering is contagious but so is happiness,” he said.

“You have mastered the trade of a beautiful vocation and I am convinced that we have provided you with all the knowledge and competences you will need. Semmelweis University’s goal is to provide people with the best of health care services provided by the best of professionals. I believe that you will continue this tradition supporting our mutual goal,” said Dr. Béla Merkely, Rector in his ceremonial speech.

He emphasized that lifelong learning and constant knowledge acquisition is necessary not only to achieve improvements but to keep up a certain level of knowledge, as the amount of scientific information doubles every two years in the field of medical and health sciences.

“My first takeaway message is to always be open towards innovations and to never lose curiosity and the desire to learn. Always be committed to providing the latest and the best treatment available to your patients and make your scientific research be driven by clinical and translational approaches: the understanding and the treatment of diseases,” the Rector said.

In his speech, the Rector mentioned that Semmelweis University’s goals do include continuous innovation. In this spirit, the curriculum is to be renewed in the academic year 2019/2020, which involves the reform of Ph.D. education as well. The aim is to make basic and general medical education last only one year and to reduce the duration of resident training. At the same time, the areas of competences will be gradually expanded during the resident training programme. All this will not mean looser requirements but will entail more intense studying.

“Our plans also serve our endeavours to have as many of you as possible among our future colleagues and welcome you as Semmelweis citizens again. I encourage you to become teachers, then masters and be part of a venture arching over generations that will make Semmelweis University one of the best 100 universities in the world and one of the 5 best health care universities in Europe by 2030. Always be proud of having been the students of a versatile university with great traditions and innovative approach,” concluded his speech Dr. Béla Merkely.

Dr. László Hunyady, Dean started his speech by giving an account of all the improvements that have happened at the faculty lately.

“Today bears special significance for me, as the newly conferred Doctors of Medicine started their university studies six years ago, when I became Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. Developments have taken place over the past few years in several areas, including simulation clinical education, the introduction of a merit-award system based on educational and student evaluation, the introduction of educational blocks in clinical practice and a clinical practice registration course book containing the competences to be acquired as well as the development of a quality assurance system for third party hospitals and departments,” the Dean said.

He also mentioned the university’s prestigious standing in international rankings. The success of the university is also indicated by the large number of international students and the accomplishments of Semmelweis graduates, whose professional approach makes them invaluable members of the largest and most well-known health care institutions all around the world.

“I am pleased by the government’s latest efforts to improve medical education, which would involve the enhancement of the resources in infrastructure, staff and equipment at our university,” he said. He named Ignaz Semmelweis as one of the greatest minds of the university, whose 200th birthday was celebrated last year at the university. “Semmelweis’ example is a message to everyone reminding that scientifically unfounded dogmas and ideas lacking professional foundation should never question scientific evidence based knowledge,” he said.

As a closure of his speech, he read Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s poem Comfort in tears to the German graduates, Joseph Rudyard Kipling’s poem If to the graduates of the English programme, and the thoughts of József Eötvös, late minister of religion and public education and the president of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences to the Hungarian graduates.

The graduation ceremony of Semmelweis University’s Faculty of Medicine was attended by Dr. Ildikó Horváth, State Secretary of Health, Dr. Miklós Kellermayer, the newly elected Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, a representative from the Hungarian Medical Chamber, the Chancellor of the university and leading officials of the university’s other faculties. The ceremony was opened by Dr. Béla Merkely, Rector, which was followed by the performance of the Misztrál orchestra.

Pálma Dobozi
Photo: Gábor Ancsin
Translation: Ágnes Raubinek