On September 17 at UCLA’s Dickson Court, the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health hosted a Graduation Celebration to honor the school’s Classes of 2020 and 2021. The ceremony featured more than 60 UCLA Fielding graduates who earned Master of Public Health, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in 2020 and 2021. The status of COVID-19 at the time did not allow for traditional graduation ceremonies to be held.
“You graduated during extremely uncertain and challenging times — in June 2020, COVID-19 vaccines were not available, and in June 2021, a more contagious variant was sweeping the nation,” Dr. Ron Brookmeyer, dean of the UCLA Fielding School and a distinguished professor of biostatistics, told the estimated 400 family and friends who gathered to celebrate the alums. “You have outstanding education and training, you are resilient, and you care. You are the next generation of changemakers.”
The featured speaker for the Graduation Celebration, Ozzie Martinez, is the chief administrative officer for the Kaiser Permanente South Bay Medical Center and earned his Master of Public Health degree from UCLA Fielding in 2003.
“As I think about the past two-and-half years and what we have endured, I remember how our community came together to embrace what felt like chaos with a clear plan and a sense of purpose: to save lives,” said Martinez, who also shared advice for the early career graduates. “What I hope to leave you with today is a reminder to lead with bold vision and with kindness in your heart. To rely not only on the incredible education that you’ve received here at UCLA, but on your capacity for empathy, and the important insights that can bring.”
Eddie Delgadillo (MPH ’20), past co-president of UCLA Fielding's Public Health Student Association, introduced the UCLA FSPH Graduate Pledge, which the alums in attendance stood and recited together.
“As the future continues to be uncertain, as we face unknown crises, we have the tools and experiences to be brave in raising our voices, in questioning the status quo, in breaking down silos, and building diverse, impactful, and just coalitions,” the graduates said. “This is our pledge.”
To view and download photos from the Graduation Celebration, please click here.
To view and download the Graduation Celebration program, please click here.