Welsh hoods GSBS’ first and 500th PhD By Kristen O’Reilly UMass Medical School Communications
When Raymond Welsh, PhD, professor of pathology and microbiology & physiological systems, placed the hood over his mentee Mina Seedhom’s head on Sunday, June 5, he marked an interesting milestone in UMass Worcester’s history. Turns out, Seedhom was the 500th student to receive his PhD from the GSBS. The fact that Dr. Welsh hooded Seedhom was notable enough. But in a pleasing twist of fate, Welsh had also had the honor of hooding the very first PhD recipient from the GSBS, Jack Bukowski, in 1984. Dr. Bukowski is now on the faculty of Harvard University and he and Welsh still keep in touch occasionally.Welsh says he has mentored more PhD students of any other faculty member in his 30 years at UMass Worcester, a total of 15 students. But others are catching up, he said with a laugh. There was no formal June ceremony in the early years, since the GSBS didn’t become an official school until 1986. The campus certainly looks different now than it did then, and it’s getting harder to know all the faculty because the institution has grown so much, Welsh said. But there are some things that are not so different. “I think the hard core of ideals, what we were trying to do, are the same,” he said. “Helping to produce a scientist is a great feeling.” The Commencement ceremony was stopped briefly to note Seedhom as the 500th graduate, and he was given a plaque to mark the occasion. “We’re expecting you here for No. 1,000,” said Brian Lewis, PhD, associate professor of molecular medicine, to Welsh from the podium.