Upstate graduate gives ‘best commencement performance’

Graduating Upstate medical student Dan Harris certainly didn’t disappoint with his address at the College of Medicine Commencement Sunday.

As the chosen student speaker for the Class of 2014, Dan — Dr. Harris — thanked one and all, discussed love and joy, and quoted poet Ogden Nash on happiness.

And then he broke out his trusty ukelele for a med school adaptation of Don McLean’s “American Pie” that, as you’ll see from the video above, will bring a smile to your face, a bounce to your step . . . and a tear to your eye.

Dr. Harris “delivered the best commencement performance I have witnessed,” said David Duggan, MD, Dean of the College of Medicine. “I highly recommend it to you, and be sure to watch it to the end.” (The musical portion begins at the 3:20 mark, but all 7:38 are worth watching.)

As a bonus, here is a link to a pair of 2011 performances by Dan Harris when he was a second-year medical student. In one, he plays the ukelele (with Upstate medical student Ken Angelino on fiddle); in the other he performs an a cappella number with fellow Class of 2014 members Justine Harris and Auyon Ghosh, and 2013 graduates Rhonda Diescher, Chas Hannum and Tony Rossettie.

Upstate’s four colleges held separate commencement exercises Sunday in the Onondaga County Civic Center, with a total of 541 degrees awarded. ”It was a very happy day,” Dr. Duggan said. “I want to thank all faculty for their contributions to our students’ success. We have a lot to be proud of.”

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