A Convocation in honor of the entering classes has been held at the beginning of each academic year since 1985. The dual theme of convocation is the importance of viewing medicine and dentistry as vocations of service to others, and the need for physicians and dentists to maintain their interest and activity beyond the health care sciences to assure a sense of balance and perspective in their personal and professional lives.
The convocation is named in honor of Joseph M. Healey Jr., J.D., Professor of Health Law and Ethics. Professor Healey was a major contributor to many of the University’s most cherished traditions, chief among them was his role in creating and chairing the annual Convocation ceremony. His untimely death in 1993 represented the loss of a significant spiritual leader at UConn. Professor Healey's positive influence on the ethical and professional conduct of countless students and colleagues has been immeasurable.
The Convocation planning is coordinated through the Student Services Center and involves input from the Associate Deans for Students Affairs from both the medical and dental schools and the second year students who are acting as orientation coordinators. The immediate past and current presidents of Medical Dental Student Government (MDSG) are given the responsibility of serving as master of ceremonies and providing the student address. All second year medical and dental students are offered the opportunity to choose and perform the artistic/musical interludes.
a. Welcome from the Master of Ceremonies. The immediate past president of the Medical Dental Student Government (MDSG) serves as the master of ceremonies.
b. Artistic Interludes. In keeping with a classical approach to the ceremony, an integral component of convocation is performances by students. The artists are always students, predominantly from the second-year classes. The interludes have consisted of readings of original poetry, instrumental and vocal music, and dance. The artistry demonstrated by the students reinforces the theme of balance between personal and professional roles.
c. Welcome from the Administration. The Dean of the School of Medicine and the Dean of the School of Dental Medicine welcome the students on behalf of the administration and share views of the convocation themes. The deans’ presence during the proceedings adds to the solemnity and importance of the ceremony.
d. Welcome from the Faculty. Alternating by year between the medical and dental schools the address is given by the most recent Kaiser Permanente Teaching Award winner, an award given each May for excellence in teaching in the clinical sciences. Selecting a faculty award winner reinforces the message that "teaching-as-service" is a critical professional obligation which should be acknowledged.
e. Student Address. The current president of Medical Dental Student Government (MDSG) gives an address focusing on balancing professional school with other essential roles – as a son/daughter, spouse/partner, etc.
f. Keynote Speaker. The tradition is to ask a graduate of the medical or dental school to be the featured speaker. The themes are once again balance and service.