Simple Beginnings ceremony celebrates new doctoral studentsSep. 8, 2016, 8:50 AM
Vanderbilt University welcomed 92 new doctoral students Sept. 2 during the seventh annual Simple Beginnings ceremony in a Light Hall lecture room packed with family members and other well wishers.
“Graduate school in the sciences is not a linear process,” Lawrence Marnett, Ph.D., Dean of Basic Sciences in the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said in his opening remarks. “Your Ph.D. in the biomedical sciences will prepare you for a satisfying career that matches your skills, values and interests.
“Some of you may choose to work in industry. Some of you may work in academia, publishing, government, not-for-profit organizations. All these careers make valuable contributions to the scientific enterprise and the world,” said Marnett, University Professor of Biochemistry, Chemistry and Pharmacology, and Mary Geddes Stahlman Professor of Cancer Research.
Marnett explained that the ceremony’s title comes from the last paragraph of Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species:” “From so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”
“From so simple a beginning as graduate school, we cannot yet imagine the breadth of discoveries that will result from the research you will conduct,” he said, “or the impact that you as trained scientists will have on our world.”
With Roger Chalkley, D.Phil., senior associate dean for Biomedical Research Education and Training (BRET), Marnett and representatives of the graduate programs presented each student with a personalized white lab coat, a symbol of scientific training.
The students come from 12 countries and 28 states. The largest group, 53 students, entered graduate school through the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program (IGP).
Other biomedical programs and departments welcoming doctoral students were Biological Sciences (2), Biostatistics (5), Cell & Developmental Biology (1), Chemical & Physical Biology (1), Epidemiology (4), Hearing & Speech Sciences (6), Neuroscience (4), the Nursing Science Program (5), and Quantitative and Chemical Biology (11).
Faculty, staff and family donations provided support for the ceremony and lab coat gifts. The BRET office organized the event.