U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine will address the charter class of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine during the first graduation ceremony in the school’s history, on Saturday, May 10.

Kaine is no stranger to Virginia Tech Carilion. In January 2007, Kaine, who was then serving as governor of Virginia, joined Charles W. Steger, president of Virginia Tech, and Edward G. Murphy, president and chief executive officer of Carilion Clinic, in announcing the creation of a public-private partnership in the form of a new medical school and research institute. The following year, Kaine helped break ground – literally and figuratively – on that vision, the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute.

“Senator Kaine has been an unwavering support for us since the school was still just an idea,” said Cynda Johnson, founding dean of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. “He has consistently offered solidarity to our mission of training physician thought leaders of the future. It is wonderfully fitting for him to deliver our first commencement address.”

Kaine has dedicated most of his career to public service and is one of just 20 Americans – and the only Virginian – to have represented his community as a mayor, governor, and the United States senator.

Having been elected to the Senate in 2012, Kaine serves on the Armed Forces, Budget, and Foreign Relations committees. In addition, Kaine has worked to enhance U.S. diplomatic leadership with a focus on the Middle East and Latin America. He has also sought to expand economic opportunity through infrastructure investment, workforce training, immigration reform, and health care access expansion.

Kaine earned degrees from the University of Missouri and Harvard Law School. He was first elected to public office in 1994, serving as a city council member and then mayor of Richmond. He became lieutenant governor of Virginia in 2002 and was inaugurated as the commonwealth’s 70th governor in 2006. During his tenure as governor, Virginia attained national recognition as the best state for business and the best-managed state in the United States.

The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine will be graduating 40 students – 29 men and 11 women – who entered in the fall of 2010, literally days after construction was completed. Members of the charter class have paved the way for all the classes to follow.

“Our charter class members have done extraordinarily well,” Johnson said. “They have thrived in a challenging academic environment. Our recent Match Day results are proof that our students are highly sought after by some of the nation’s most prestigious residency programs.”

The four-year medical school uses a patient-based learning concept as a major part of its curriculum. The approach trains students to make patients the central focus, reduces the amount of passive learning, and includes real-life cases analyzed in small-group discussions.  

In addition to basic and clinical sciences, the school’s curriculum incorporates rigorous research and interprofessional training.

Written by Catherine Doss.
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