The 596 graduating students in the Class of 2023 were lauded for persevering through the coronavirus pandemic while embracing new ways of providing patient care. 

It was only fitting that MGH Institute of Health Professions’ 2023 Commencement coincided with the country’s lifting of the Covid-19 public health emergency. 

After all, the coronavirus pandemic caused students in the three-year doctoral programs in nursing, occupational therapy, and physical therapy to pivot from in-person to online just a few months after beginning their respective program. But, having seen the beginning and the end of the world’s worst health crisis in a century, the school’s 596 graduates are more prepared than ever to embrace the challenge of leading new ways of patient care. 

“These past three years have taught us countless lessons about academia, our professions, ourselves, and what we want our futures to look like,” said Doctor of Physical Therapy graduate Alina Shirley, who was the keynote speaker at the morning ceremony for graduates in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and School of Healthcare Leadership. “Our educators told us … that the challenges we faced would turn us into the most resilient healthcare professionals of our time.” 

Added Isabelle Rae Girard, a Master of Science in Nursing graduate who was the School of Nursing’s keynote speaker during the afternoon ceremony, “I would like to take a moment to share a round of applause with my fellow graduates - and the incredible staff at the Institute who have guided us - for the care we have all provided during the height of the global pandemic.” 

President Paula Milone-Nuzzo, PhD, RN, FHHC, FAAN, echoed those feelings during her introductory remarks given to more than 3,000 students, family, friends and MGH Institute staffers who celebrated the graduates in the Class of 2023 during the school’s 43rd Commencement ceremony, held at the Boston Convention and Exposition Center. 

“Your graduation comes with the recognition of knowing your studies occurred at the most challenging time most of us have ever experienced in our lives,” said Dr. Milone-Nuzzo. "Throughout all this, you have been extraordinary. You have embraced new ways of learning. In the face of adversity, you have innovated, developing supports for those in need in our communities. You have inspired us by showing the true IHP spirit of leadership. The lessons learned in adapting during this time will serve you well in the future as a health professional.”