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Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (Geisinger Commonwealth) conferred 87 doctor of medicine (MD) and 69 master of biomedical sciences (MBS) degrees upon students who composed Geisinger Commonwealth’s graduating Class of 2017. Commencement ceremonies were held Sunday, May 7 at the Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre.

After graduating medical student, Ghamar Bitar, sang the National Anthem, Monsignor Joseph Quinn, pastor of Our Lady of the Snows parish in Clarks Summit, gave the invocation.

Steven J. Scheinman, MD Geisinger Commonwealth’s president and dean, welcomed guests and graduates, noting that the Class of 2017 is the first to receive a Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine diploma. Dr. Scheinman observed that person-centeredness is central to the School of Medicine’s mission, saying the graduates “Have mastery of all of the tools of your specialty, but also the wisdom and compassion to deploy them thoughtfully and in the interests of what the patient wants.” He also reminded the graduates that, “It is a great privilege to be invited into the lives of patients as physicians are. You have earned this degree that we’ve given you today.  But this privilege is something that you have to earn anew every day.”   

Greetings were offered on behalf of the school’s board of directors by the board chair, Mr. Robert Dietz, and on behalf of the Geisinger Health System by its president and CEO, Dr. David Feinberg.

William F. Iobst, MD, vice president for academic and clinical affairs and vice dean, together with Dr. Scheinman, presented the commencement speaker, Deborah E. Powell, MD, for the honorary doctor of medical arts degree.  Dr. Powell is a leader in academic medicine, and currently dean emerita and professor of laboratory medicine and pathology at the University of Minnesota.

Patrick Schofield, MD, a member of the Class of 2014, delivered greetings from Geisinger Commonwealth’s growing Alumni Society. The ceremony concluded with a benediction given by Rabbi Peg Kershenbaum, Congregation B’nai Harim, Pocono Pines.


About Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (Geisinger Commonwealth) is a member of the Geisinger family. Geisinger Commonwealth offers a community-based model of medical education with campuses in Danville, Doylestown, Scranton, Sayre and Wilkes-Barre. Geisinger Commonwealth offers Doctor of Medicine (MD) and Master of Biomedical Sciences (MBS) degrees. The school’s innovative curriculum, focused on caring for people in the context of their lives and their community, attracts the next generation of physicians and scientists from within its region in northeastern and central Pennsylvania, as well as from across the state and the nation. The school also has over 440 graduate medical students in 24 residency programs and 19 accredited fellowships. Geisinger Commonwealth is committed to non-discrimination in all employment and educational opportunities. For more information, visit, or connect with us on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn and Twitter.


About Geisinger
One of the nation’s most innovative health services organizations, Geisinger serves more than 1.5 million patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The system includes 13 hospital campuses, a nearly 600,000-member health plan, two research centers and the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. Geisinger is known for its focus on caring and innovative programs including the ProvenCare® best-practice approach to maximize quality, safety and value; ProvenHealth Navigator® advanced medical home; Springboard Health® population health program to improve the health of an entire community; ProvenExperience™ to provide refunds to patients unhappy with their care experience; and Geisinger’s MyCode® Community Health Initiative, the largest healthcare system-based precision health project in the world. With more than 215,000 volunteer participants enrolled, MyCode is conducting extensive research and returning medically actionable results to participants. A physician-led organization, with approximately 32,000 employees and more than 1,800 employed physicians, Geisinger leverages an estimated $12.7 billion positive annual impact on the Pennsylvania and New Jersey economies. Repeatedly recognized nationally for integration, quality and service, Geisinger has a long-standing commitment to patient care, medical education, research and community service. For more information, visit, or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

MD Class of 2017
MD Class of 2017
MBS-Scranton Class of 2017
MBS-Scranton Class of 2017

For GCSOM media inquiries

Elizabeth Zygmunt
Director of Media and Public Relations
Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
Office: 570-504-9687
On call: 570-687-9703