On June 2, 2014, a beautiful and warm evening, 254 new healers walked the stage to celebrate their commencement from Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH). Among those graduating were our first classes of Master of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health and Master of Science in Health Promotion students. In total, 225 master’s degrees were conferred and there were 29 graduates of academic certificate programs.
Throughout the evening’s heartfelt speeches, a theme of interconnection emerged. All of our speakers recognized that none of us accomplish our goals alone. Wholehearted acknowledgments went out to everyone – the graduates, their families and friends, as well as the MUIH Board of Trustees, faculty, and leadership.
Board of Trustees Chair Adele Wilzack expressed her pride in and excitement about our new graduates, and encouraged them take good care of themselves as they begin to take care of others: “Listen to your body, practice mindfulness, eat healthfully, move your body, sleep soundly, spend time in nature, and nurture your important relationships. In short, remember to take the advice you give to your patients or clients! Your strength, your success, and your ability to give wholeheartedly depend on this.”
President and CEO Frank Vitale began his remarks by honoring our founders, Bob Duggan and Dianne Connelly, our Board of Trustees, our leadership, and our faculty. He went on to speak about key distinguishing factors of our graduates and how they will be a catalyst for change in healthcare: “Our set point is wholeness. We understand the powerful connection between the body, the mind, and the spirit. We understand that the path toward wellness requires a deeply sacred, shared commitment between the healer and the client. Our purpose is to provide the nation with the next generation and a new kind of healthcare provider.”
Student speaker, Alma Danita Rountree Green, a new graduate of the Master of Arts in Transformative Leadership and Social Change, shared a moving speech about the power of language. She said, “I could create no finer characters than the classmates we all will remember, no nobler theme than to serve our communities by becoming a healing presence.” See a video of Danita’s full speech below.
Our 2014 commencement speaker, Dr. Tracy Gaudet, serves as the director of the Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation at the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and is a long-time friend and supporter of MUIH. Dr. Gaudet expressed her sense of our graduates as kindred spirits in the work to bring a more humanistic approach to health care. She said, “Each and every one of you is a deep and critical part of this healthcare transformation. Always lead with your healing presence. Health care can become a doorway for people to discover their joy, their purpose.” And, she said, “You can touch the heart of souls of the people you work with. You have chosen careers with purpose, lives with purpose. For this, I congratulate you, I thank you, and I celebrate you.” See a video of Dr. Gaudet’s full speech below.
All of us at MUIH are proud of our recent graduates and look forward to watching and supporting their work for many years to come.