"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."
~ Sir Isaac Newton
On Thursday, I had the opportunity to witness something truly inspiring. I was among the people bearing witness as a woman by the name of Valerie Montgomery-Rice, MD raised her right hand and was sworn in as the first female president of a free-standing medical school. It was amazing.
Dr. Montgomery-Rice was born and raised in Macon, Georgia. The product of public schools, a single mother, and not many resources. But she prevailed--she did. That woman went on to graduate from Georgia Tech and from there went to Harvard Medical School. Next, her path led her to Grady Hospital, where she trained as an Ob/Gyn resident with Emory. Many accomplishments followed, including a Dean position at my alma mater, Meharry, and then the Dean at Morehouse School of Medicine. I should also point out that being a female DEAN at any medical school is also a huge deal.
Let alone an underrepresented minority female. Hello?
And so. Along with the Governor and many other dignitaries, we stood to our feet and applauded her. We listened to the words of the highly accomplished people who made sure that they, too, were there for this momentous occasion. Even the President--and a past President--of our illustrious sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, were among those in attendance. Because clearly this woman is a Delta.
Ha ha. Anyways. It was an amazing morning that I am so, so happy I cleared my clinic schedule to attend. My good friend, med school classmate and fellow Grady doctor Yolanda W. was a key planner in all of the events. I was proud of her, too. Everything turned out perfect. And can I just say that I truly believe that in the future I will be attending a similar event for Yolanda? I am 100% serious and you heard it here first.
How cool was it that this took place in the Martin Luther King Chapel on the campus of Morehouse College? A historic moment in a historic place named for one of history's greats. I could feel him watching over this day. I really could.
One of my favorite moments was when the clergy encircled her in a prayer. This was definitely a unique aspect of the ceremony that I think was culturally fitting. I love that she wasn't too important to do that part. It brought tears to my eyes--truly it did.
The other special moment was when everyone stood and sang "Lift Every Voice and Sing." Those voices rang out over that building so proudly and so full! My chest swelled with every note and every word. I remembered my Zachary learning those words and couldn't wait to tell him about this moment.
I was so happy to see many of my fellow Grady doctors there. Sheryl H., Deb H., Nicole F., and Leon H. were all in the building. Sure, we all represent Emory, but I think that made it all the better. We stood in solidarity for Dr. Montgomery-Rice and gave life to her charge for our institutions to stay connected.
I was also happy to see one of my other favorite Grady doctors, Frank J. He's a Morehouse College and Morehouse School of Medicine alum--and is now on the faculty at Morehouse School of Medicine. His lovely wife is the section chief of my division at Grady and is also one of the best people I know. Oh, and did I mention? His wife, Jada J., is a Delta, too.
Ha ha ha.
To the students, residents, colleagues and everyone else reading this. . . . know that our accomplishments are never, ever just about us. We stand upon the shoulders of giants and, over time, we become the giants for someone else.
Congratulations, Sister President. You make us very, very proud.
"I am proud to stand beneath the shade of a tree that I did not plant."
~ Dr. Valerie Montgomery-Rice, President, Morehouse School of Medicine
Now playing on my mental iPod. . . Thought I'd share this for everyone once more. :)
Zachary's Lift Every Voice and Sing from Kimberly Manning on Vimeo.
Oh, okay. And this, too. I mean, how can I not?
Isaiah as MLK Jr from Kimberly Manning on Vimeo.