Life Lessons — For Our School of Medicine Graduates and Ourselves

June 1, 2023 by

Melina Kibbe Graduation 2023

Dean Melina Kibbe, MD, addresses graduates at UVA Final Exercises on May 21, 2023.

On May 21, I walked across the Lawn with thousands of graduates, faculty, and fellow deans to mark the end of the 2022-23 school year and commemorate the 194th Final Exercises at UVA.

As we made the procession from the Rotunda to Old Cabell Hall, I was filled with immense pride to be among our 295 School of Medicine graduates, representing a diverse array of disciplines and backgrounds, all excited to be embarking on the next phase of their lives. Each graduate – 162 MDs, 48 PhDs, and 85 Masters – was a shining example of dedication and perseverance representing the future of medicine.

The day was a celebration of accomplishments and confirmation of the boundless potential within our School of Medicine. It is with enormous gratitude that I convey my appreciation to our incredible faculty, staff, trainees, residents, and fellows for your unwavering dedication and commitment to making our school truly remarkable – thank you for your passion and purpose to educating, training, and supporting our next generation of doctors and scientists!

As we end the school year, I take this opportunity to share some of the reflections and valuable lessons I shared with our graduates on their special day that we can apply in our respective roles.

Lesson No. 1: Every Minute Matters.

Time, as we know, is a precious commodity. In medicine, we appreciate time even more because every minute truly does matter and can mean the difference between life and death. In a broader sense of the world, don’t let time pass you by. I encourage you to make the most of every minute spent in service of our mission – to transform health and inspire hope for all Virginians and beyond; and most especially, make the most of every minute spent with your families and loved ones. They are the most precious people in our lives.

Lesson 2: Let failure be a powerful motivator.

In our relentless pursuit of scientific knowledge, failure and setbacks are inevitable. However, let these moments be stepping stones rather than stumbling blocks. Embrace failure as an opportunity to learn and persevere. Let failure push you to do better and be better. Take a step back, regroup, and determine what steps you need to move forward on your journey to great discoveries.

Lesson 3: Be open to opportunities and embrace collaboration.

The challenges we face in the field of medicine are complex and demand our collective efforts. I believe that being open to new opportunities and collaborations helps to drive innovation, strengthens the science we produce, and the outcomes we achieve. The challenges we face in medicine can’t be solved by any one scientist—we must be great and good collaborators, especially if we’re to achieve new breakthroughs in the field of medicine that will make a difference in people’s lives.

Thank you for your valuable contributions, your enormous passion, and your unwavering commitment to our wonderful School of Medicine. I am privileged to work alongside each and every one of you. Let us continue to shape a future where compassion, innovation, and excellence define every aspect of our day.

With gratitude,

Melina Kibbe, MD
Dean, UVA School of Medicine
James Carroll Flippin Professor of Medical Science
Chief Health Affairs Officer, UVA Health


Filed Under: Dean's Message, Featured