A magazine for friends of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

MD Class of 2023 Takes the Spotlight


At Commencement, no newly minted Brown physician goes unrecognized in student speaker’s address.

John Johnson MD’23 may have been chosen by his peers to speak at The Warren Alpert Medical School Commencement Ceremony—but he was intent on sharing the spotlight with fellow graduates and new physicians.

In his remarks, the Mississippi native surprised six classmates by sharing stories of when they’d inspired him “to be a better doctor and—more importantly—to be a better person.” He thanked friends he’d known since they were undergraduates together at Tougaloo College as well as classmates he’d admired from afar, praising their personal attributes and skills as physicians. He encouraged all graduates to continue to be role models, even as they deepened their own knowledge and practice of medicine.

Although Johnson said he had tributes for every one of the 134 students earning their MDs on Sunday, there were other items on the program, including an address by Steven Rougas MD’09 RES’13, who now directs the Medical School’s Doctoring program. Each of the graduates also recited the Physician’s Oath and received a ceremonial green hood.

Johnson likely spoke for many when he said he felt prepared to graduate medical school but not yet ready to leave the company of the people who had enriched his time in Providence. He shared with his soon-to-be-former classmates his wishes as they prepared to start medical residencies in clinical settings across the country.

“To be knowledgeable enough to lead, but modest enough to be led,” he said. “To be confident enough to speak, but thoughtful enough to listen. To be selfless enough to be there for others, but introspective enough to be there for ourselves. To be proud enough to maintain our character, but humble enough to grow.”

In short, Johnson said: “I hope that we become even more so of who we already are.”

Read more stories from Commencement 2023.


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