Lecture-series students receive diplomas

Craig Gustafson

and Amber Foley
The most accelerated class in University Medical School history graduated Wednesday evening in Moos Tower.
The 275 graduates picked up their diplomas Wednesday after completion of the first-ever Mini Medical School, a free, six-week lecture series aimed at informing the public about timely science and medical issues.
“Commencement is just the beginning of your career,” said Al Michael, Medical School dean. “It’s really about lifelong learning.”
To receive their Mini Medical degree, participants had to attend five of the six sessions. The popular course was closed in early September after 2,000 people tried to register for the sessions.
“It’s been an overwhelming success,” said Jeny Stumpf, an Academic Health Center community-relations associate who coordinated the series.
While University alumna Carol Jinda said a lot of the material was technical, she said students asked sophisticated questions, surprising some of the professors.
“It was a wonderful opportunity,” Jinda said. “It’s gratifying to be receiving this award.”
De Arnold, another Mini Medical School graduate and University alumna, said she can’t wait to be called “Dr.”
“I want to be a mini-lawyer now, too,” she added. “My husband is a physician, and when I go home I can now argue with him.”
After University President Mark Yudof congratulated the students in a short speech and students attended their last lecture, a Brooklyn Park physician delivered the commencement speech.
Dr. Mark DePaolis, who received a real medical degree from the University in 1983, wrote a Star Tribune column in October joking about not having waited for the shorter, free version of medical school.
A $10,000 grant from pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. paid for the Mini Medical School. But all the University physicians involved in the sessions volunteered.
The AHC Student Consultative Committee developed the Mini Medical School based on a similar Colorado program that started in 1991.
Third-year medical student Mike Vollmer and several students from other medical disciplines presented the idea to faculty, who embraced the it wholeheartedly.
“We wanted to open (the Medical School) up to folks interested in science,” Vollmer said.
One of the evening’s lecturers, Mary Jo Kreitzer, was pleased with the program’s success.
“If nothing else, it sparked a lot of interest and curiosity in the students,” Kreitzer said.

Craig Gustafson and Amber Foley welcome comments at [email protected] and [email protected]