This week’s commencement speech is by Mayor Mike Rawlings, who spoke to the UT Southwestern Medical School 2018 Commencement. Mike Rawlings is the 61st mayor of Dallas and the longest-serving mayor in more than 45 years. During his time in office, he has focused on spurring economic development in the long-overlooked southern portion of Dallas through his GrowSouth initiative, improving public education, combating poverty and domestic violence, developing parks, elevating the city’s international profile and turning Dallas into a top destination for artists, young professionals, families and corporations.
Mayor Mike Rawlings starts off his speech by talking about UT Southwestern’s importance to the city of Dallas and his personal interactions with the physician leaders of UTSW. He makes a plea to the graduates to stay in the Dallas metroplex to help the growing community continue to flourish.
Mr. Rawlings then talks about the recent events that shattered the Dallas community such as the police shootings during the Black Lives Matter protest in 2016 and the Ebola scare in 2014, and how it took the strength of heroic medical professions to get through these events. One such hero was UTSW’s very own trauma surgeon, Dr. Brain Williams: “…5 of our officers were ambushed and killed during a Black Lives Matter protest. I saw the best of medicine that night. One of the lead trauma surgeons treating our officers at Parkland was Dr. Brian Williams, a black man who lives in Dallas and in the wake of that awful day spoke powerfully about the fear that he has experienced as a black man interacting with police officers – but he added that he of course would never have allowed his personal feelings to in any way impact the way that he cared for those officers. That night he was a doctor first, an advocate second. But he used his platform as a trauma surgeon who had worked to save our officers as an opportunity to speak in a raw and honest way about social justice… and that has continued in the years since the July 7 shootings.”
Mayor Rawlings then goes into a conversation about the importance of the personal interactions the graduating students will encounter throughout their professional medical careers, and draws from the work and thoughts of Martin Buber, a Jewish Theologian. He encourages the graduates to change their personal interactions from an “I – IT relationship” to an” I – THOU relationship” to recognize the divinity within ourselves and the divinity of others so that deeper relationships can be formed.
Mike Rawlings concludes his speech with a call to action for the graduates to realize their higher calling in life: “These are all personal choices each of you will have to make. Will you fulfill your calling? If so, what will it be? And how will you interact with your patients? Can you be conveyors of science and hope at the same time? I know you will make the right decisions. You are smart enough, you’ve been taught by the best, and you are lucky. I’m betting on you. And so is our city. Thank you for allowing me to celebrate this day with you.”
Read the full speech in the Commencement Archive: http://www.themspress.org/journal/index.php/commencement/article/view/327