Newswise — Bethesda, MD – More than 340 uniformed professionals will receive their medical, graduate nursing, dental and biomedical science, public health and clinical psychology degrees on May 19 – Armed Forces Day – at the Uniformed Services University’s (USU) 39th commencement exercise at the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Constitution Hall, in Washington, D.C.

The Honorable James B. Peake, a retired Army lieutenant general and former Veterans Affairs Cabinet Secretary, will deliver the commencement address.  As VA Secretary, he was the principal advocate in the U.S. government for military veterans, directing the country’s second largest cabinet department.  He was responsible for a nationwide system of health care, benefits programs, and national cemeteries for the country’s veterans-. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Peake earned his medical degree from Cornell University in New York. Peake served as a general surgeon, cardiac surgeon, and commander of a number of Army medical organizations before he was appointed to serve as the Army Surgeon General from 2000 to 2004.  He is currently senior vice president of CGI Federal.

The USU commencement is one of the most unique graduation ceremonies in the nation. The graduates are both military and civilian students, and those in uniform are active duty officers in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, or Public Health Service. Students enter DAR Constitution Hall to “Pomp and Circumstance” performed by “The President’s Own” U.S. Marine Corps Band.  The uniformed service members walk across the stage in academic regalia, receive their diplomas, and return to their seats in their military uniforms.  Graduating medical students, who are promoted at graduation, return wearing their new rank and recite their respective service commissioning oath, led individually by each branch Surgeon General.

Graduates from USU’s F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine – “America’s Medical School” -- will include 159 Doctor of Medicine degrees and 62 masters, Doctor of Public Health and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.  USU’s Daniel K. Inouye Graduate School of Nursing will confer 46 Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees and three Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science degrees. USU’s Postgraduate Dental College will confer 77 Master of Science in Oral Biology degrees.


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About USU

The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU), founded by an act of Congress in 1972, is the academic heart of the Military Health System. USU students are primarily active-duty uniformed officers in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Public Health Service who receive specialized education in tropical and infectious diseases, TBI and PTSD, disaster response and humanitarian assistance, global health, acute trauma care, and advanced practice nursing and dentistry. For more information, visit

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