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Virtual celebration to mark momentous day for Queen’s new medical graduands

For the first time, over two hundred medical students at Queen’s University will recite the Sponsio Academica virtually, as they embark on their careers early in order to aid the health service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Queen’s medical students usually graduate in July, however, as conventional graduations are not currently possible due to social distancing rules, the University is holding a special, virtual ‘Celebration and Dedication Ceremony’ today (Tuesday 28 April).  During this ceremony the final year medical students will recite the Sponsio Academica, which encapsulates the principles held sacred by doctors, while their family, friends, and peers will be able to watch the ceremony as it being live streamed. 

The students have finished their studies several weeks early in response to the request from Minister Robin Swann, the NI Minister for Health, for additional staff to join the medical workforce.  Queen’s is one of many UK-based university medical schools taking such positive steps to facilitate new doctors supporting the health service at this critical time. 

Professor Pascal McKeown, Dean of the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen’s University, said: “We are delighted to host this online event to celebrate the success of our outstanding new medical graduates. Reciting the Sponsio Academica is an opportunity for these new doctors to state publicly their professional commitment to the service of patients.” 

Professor Neil Kennedy, Director of the Centre for Medical Education at Queen’s University, said: “It has been our privilege to teach this cohort of students who are entering the workforce early in unique and challenging circumstances. Their commitment and selflessness embody the values of our profession. They will be excellent, compassionate doctors who put their patients first.” 

During their undergraduate training, the Queen’s medical students have undertaken a large number of clinical placements in primary care, secondary care, and community-based settings. They have been continually assessed throughout their five-year degree and have met the exceptionally high standards and outcomes required by the General Medical Council.  

The virtual ceremony can be viewed on Tuesday 28 April at 5pm on the University website at 



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