The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday October 5th

Atul Gawande selected as graduation speaker

Carolina blue robes, a stadium celebrating on Mother’s Day and Dr. Atul Gawande await the graduating class of 2014.

Gawande, who will be the commencement speaker on May 11, 2014, holds two teaching positions in Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health. In addition to his career as an endocrine surgeon, he is the author of three best-selling books on medical safety.

His latest book, “The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right,” is a pioneering work written with the aim to improve patient care and surgical efficacy.

“He has so many good things that the students will enjoy,” said Ron Strauss, executive vice provost and chief international officer at UNC and a member of the Commencement Speaker Advisory Committee.

“He is innovative, he is an outstanding writer and thinker and he is global. He is a good teacher, he has been involved a little bit in political life. He is just an amazingly well-rounded, interesting guy.”

Gawande is also the co-founder and chairman of Lifebox, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing surgical deaths across the globe. He was also the recipient of the Rhodes Scholarship and was a MacArthur Fellow.

Former Chancellor Holden Thorp drove Gawande’s selection, and the committee unanimously recommended him on Sept. 13, 2012.

Chancellor Carol Folt said in a statement that Gawande has had a positive effect on medicine and in the general community. Gawande will receive an honorary UNC doctor of science degree.

“Carolina is privileged to have Dr. Atul Gawande as our spring commencement speaker,” she said. “His remarkable career as a distinguished surgeon, writer and researcher is inspiring. He is changing the future of medicine while also serving the public good.”

Student Body Vice President Jacob Morse said Gawande has a unique perspective that the students will benefit from.

“I think he is going to be a very powerful speaker,” he said.

“I think his background is one that the community will appreciate. He is a very renowned surgeon and he has a good blend of someone with a very refined technical skill but also someone who is engaging and people would want to listen to.”

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