SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University
Speakers for 2019
SUNY Downstate will celebrate its 52nd commencement on Tuesday, May 21 at 3:30 p.m. at Carnegie Hall. Mary T. Bassett, M.D., MPH, former Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will deliver the commencement address during the ceremony to more than 400 graduates, families, and friends of SUNY Downstate’s College of Medicine, School of Graduate Studies, and the School of Public Health.
SUNY Downstate will also honor SUNY Board of Trustees Chairman H. Carl McCall with this year’s President’s Award. Appointed to the SUNY Board in 2007, he has served as Chairman since 2011 and recently announced his intention to retire this June.
Dr. Mary T. Bassett will also receive an honorary Doctor of Science for her work on behalf of New York City’s vulnerable populations. Other honorary degree recipients include Dr. Gerald Whitehead Deas, Dr. Arthur Kaufman, and Dr. Joel S. Levine.
In a second graduation ceremony scheduled for 7:30 p.m., also at Carnegie Hall, SUNY Downstate alumna Babette Seligmann Sanders will deliver the commencement address for Downstate’s College of Nursing and the College of Health-Related Professions. She will also receive the Ailanthus Award, SUNY Downstate’s highest campus honor, for her service to the discipline of Physical Therapy.
Commencement Speaker for Downstate’s College of Medicine, School of Graduate Studies, and the School of Public Health and Honorary Degree Recipient
Mary T. Bassett, M.D., MPH
Dr. Mary T. Bassett is a prominent public health advocate who has dedicated her career to advancing health equity. She is Director of the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University and Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. As Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene from 2014-2018, she was responsible for setting the health agenda for New York City’s 8.2 million residents.
Commencement Speaker for Downstate’s College of Nursing and School of Health-Related Professions and Ailanthus Award Recipient
Babette Seligmann Sanders, PT, DPT, MS, FAPTA
Dr. Babette Sanders is SUNY Downstate alumna and a Professor and Assistant Chair for Student Affairs in the Department of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. Her primary area of clinical practice, prior to and in conjunction with her academic position, is acute care physical therapy. She won a Best Manuscript Award from the Journal of Acute Care Physical Therapy for her article, “Defining Entry-Level Practice in Acute Care Physical Therapist Practice.”