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Duke names student speaker for the 2019 Commencement ceremony

Courtesy of DukeToday
Courtesy of DukeToday

Senior Leah Rosen was selected as this year's student commencement speaker.

At Duke, Rosen served as president of Duke Global Medical Brigades and Duke HAND (Helping Hands for Alzheimer's and other Neurological Disorders). As a pre-medical student, she was also a volunteer at the Duke Cancer Center and declared a Program II major in illness and identity. The Aurora, Colo., native will deliver her address May 12.

“The humanities are crucial to the practice of medicine,” Rosen said in a news release. "'How does the experience of illness affect who a person is?’ That’s a question at the center of medicine. And you can’t begin to answer it without borrowing from the humanities.” 

Her speech will be "something of a love letter to Duke" and discuss the difference between being and doing, according to the release. She explained that pre-med students are often taught to do rather than to be, which is also important for the medical practice.

She cited the need for empathy in medicine, and as the daughter of an Italian American Catholic and a Cuban American Jew, Rosen is knowledgeable about different cultures.

“Leah’s speech stood out as one that was incredibly creative and had broad appeal to all degree candidates—undergraduate, graduate and professional—as well as many of those attending the ceremony,” said Sterly Wilder, Trinity '83 and associate vice president for alumni affairs, who served on the committee that chose the student speaker.  

Rosen will join Lisa Borders, former president and CEO of TIME'S UP, who was selected in February to give the commencement address. The senior is following last year's student speaker, Deeksha Malhotra, Trinity '18.

After graduating from Duke, Rosen will pursue a master's degree in narrative medicine before applying to medical school.


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