Dr. Bobby Mukkamala delivers UM-Flint commencement keynote

FLINT, Michigan — Celebrating the more than 900 students who have graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint since the summer, keynote commencement speaker Dr. Bobby Mukkamala told students to be proud of their accomplishments and resiliency. 

“Draw on the entirety of your experience when you tell your story to the people interviewing you for your future jobs,” Mukkamala said at the Dec. 16, 2018 commencement ceremony at Dort Federal Credit Union Event Center. 

“Tell them about your academic interests and success sure, but also tell them of what you learned about life along the way, how you enjoyed the good times so far but also how you made it through the rougher patches. Tell them about your resiliency. It is this maturity that will open doors all over the place for you.”

Mukkamala, a Flint resident and graduate of Powers Catholic High School, noted that many UM-Flint students work especially hard. Nearly one-third of students are older "nontraditional" students. Many juggle school with work and family obligations and a majority of graduates take five and six years to earn their degree. 

He compared that to his own undergraduate experience, which he realizes now was one with many privileges. His commencement speaker at University of Michigan in 1991 was President George H.W. Bush. UM-Flint graduates deserve recognition of that magnitude, Mukkamala said calling them, “leaders with life experience.”

Mukkamala, a practicing ear, nose, and throat doctor, serves as a member of the American Medical Association Board of Trustees and chair of the Michigan State Medical Society Board of Directors. He encouraged graduates to remember everyone who helped them reach this milestone, including their family and all of the teachers throughout their life.

“Be proud of your accomplishments, but be grateful,” he said.

Mukkamala is also a local business owner and philanthropist. He and his wife, Dr. Nita Kulkarni, an OBGYN, established the Endowed Health Professions Scholarship at UM-Flint in 2012.

UM-Flint Chancellor Susan E. Borrego echoed Mukkamala’s sentiments, encouraging graduates to use their degree as an opportunity to do good in the world, as did student speaker Hannah Karczewski.

“Flint has invested in us, and we into it,” said Karczewski. “Don’t let those opportunities go to waste.”

Read more articles by Ashley Schafer.

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