Distinguished Professor at Mount Sinai Dr. Jeffrey Laitman to Receive Honorary Degree, Speak at Commencement May 17; Thomas Brophy and Father Robert Wild to Receive Honorary Degrees

May 7, 2013

The Medical College of Wisconsin’s (MCW) 100th annual commencement exercises will be held May 17 at 4:00 p.m. at the Milwaukee Theatre. MCW’s Medical School and its Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences will award a total of 194 MD, 40 PhD, 23 MS, 8 MA, and 16 Master of Public Health degrees.

Jeffrey T. Laitman, PhD, Distinguished Professor of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, will receive an honorary degree and deliver the commencement address.

The College will also honor Tom Brophy and Rev. Robert Wild, SJ, long time Wisconsin community leaders, with honorary doctoral degrees.

Dr. Jeffrey T. Laitman’s research on the development of the aerodigestive tract has shed light on the human respiratory system, and the evolution of the vocal tract and human speech. His pioneering work in charting the anatomy of the aerodigestive tract in humans and in other mammals has had considerable implications for not only understanding human anatomy, but also evolution and clinical disorders such as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Dr. Laitman is currently Distinguished Professor of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Professor and Director of Anatomy and Functional Morphology, Professor of Otolaryngology, Professor of Medical Education and Director of Gross Anatomy at Mount Sinai; and Professor in the Graduate Faculties of Biomedical Sciences at Mount Sinai and of Anthropology of the City University of New York. Dr. Laitman is also a Research Associate at the American Museum of Natural History, and a member of the faculty of the New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology (NYCEP), a research-training program supported by the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Laitman’s work has been covered extensively in the general scientific and lay press, and he has been the focus of many television and radio specials both in the United States and abroad, such as the BBC and Discovery Channel documentary, “The Day We Learned to Think,” the award-winning “The Miracle Planet” Series on the National Geographic Channel, and the documentary “Clash of the Cavemen” on the History Channel.

Thomas A. Brophy has been an influential figure in Milwaukee’s health and human services arena for more than 40 years. He served as the MCW Director of Community Relations for 12 years before retiring in 2010. During his time at MCW, Brophy helped advance the college’s public and community health mission and volunteered on the boards of several organizations, including Community Advocates, Milwaukee Academy of Science, and St. Charles Youth and Family Services. Earlier in his career, he worked for 30 years for Milwaukee County, where he began as a social worker and eventually served as Director of Human Services and then retired as Administrator of John L. Doyne Hospital. He was honored with the James Ryan Lifetime Achievement Award by the Public Policy Forum.

Rev. Robert A. Wild, SJ, was the President of Marquette University from 1996 to 2011. Under his leadership, Marquette University experienced unprecedented growth with groundbreaking new educational and research facilities, innovative academic programs, increased donor support, and strong relationships with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the community.

Father Wild inspired the formation of diverse leaders at an institution that was the first Catholic university in the world to admit women to be educated alongside men in undergraduate programs in 1909. Wild holds a doctoral degree in New Testament and Christian origins from Harvard University.

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