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“Welcome back. You’ve made us all proud.”

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2015 - Spring


As he walked from Gateway Community College to the medical campus on the morning of Sept. 17, Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, M.D. ‘03, M.B.A. ‘03, stopped off at Hope 110, the classroom where generations of students have attended lectures in medicine. He pointed out his seat in the lecture hall and recalled a classmate who always sat in the front row, so intent on taking notes that he never noticed when the professor called on him.

Later that day, after he gave a talk in Harkness Auditorium, Murthy fielded a question from Cary P. Gross, M.D., professor of medicine, who prefaced his query by saying, “Welcome back. You‘ve made us all proud.”

Murthy turned to the audience and said, “Dr. Cary Gross was, in fact, my thesis advisor.” And to Gross, “I just had a flashback to sitting in your office.”

The exchange was a reminder that Murthy is just 12 years out of med school and one of the youngest surgeons general in recent history. And that his ties to the School of Medicine are recent and strong. “It really feels like coming home,” he said. “I spent five years here, exploring new ideas, meeting new people.

“No matter where I go,” Murthy told the audience, “I always remain grateful to Yale. The real power in this place is that each of us has a different story. Each of us is here for a reason. You are all here because you know that you are capable of accomplishing something big. When I was a student at Yale I had no idea that I would be surgeon general. But I did know that I was supposed to be here.”