May 15, 2021

As a young Army recruit, Sudip Bose, M.D., recalled before Susquehanna University’s Class of 2021, he was preparing to repel down a seven-story wall when a drill sergeant gave him two simple instructions: Don’t look down. And don’t let go of the rope.

Bose looked down and froze. He was too afraid to jump. As his drill sergeant let go of the slack, Bose fell off the wall — and let go of the rope. Bose, the same man who was accepted into medical school immediately out of high school, had failed.

“As you get out in the world, sometimes you nail it on the first try, sometimes you’re hanging like a bug upside down swinging like a twig,” Bose said. “Get up. Get up again. You don’t rise to the occasion; you sink to the level of your training.”

Bose virtually delivered the keynote address to a live audience at Susquehanna’s 163rd Commencement. To ensure a safe environment for all involved in commencement exercises, Susquehanna hosted graduation ceremonies for the Class of 2021 at three separate times over Saturday, May 15, and Sunday, May 16. Graduates were grouped by majors.

Bose is an emergency medicine physician, combat veteran, professor and entrepreneur. Bose was recognized as a CNN Hero for serving as the U.S. physician who treated former Iraq President Saddam Hussein after his capture. He served in the military for 12 years. His 15-month deployment to Iraq was one of the longest continuous combat tours by a military physician since World War II, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star. In 2014, Bose founded The Battle Continues, a nonprofit organization that helps veterans fight health battles beyond combat.

Currently, Bose splits his time as a practicing emergency physician at the Medical Center Hospital in Odessa, Texas, and teaching as a clinical professor at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and the University of Illinois College of Medicine.

Bose received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from University President Jonathan Green. William Lewis ’68, emeritus member of Susquehanna’s Board of Trustees and the university’s first African-American graduate, also received an honorary degree.

Green conferred degrees upon 510 graduates in the School of Arts and Sciences and the Sigmund Weis School of Business.

In his remarks, Green congratulated the Class of 2021 for the lengths they went to ensure a successful on-campus learning experience for those who wanted it.

“You have seen first-hand how truly interdependent we are. We are able to be here today because you chose to work as a community for the common good, and nearly every setback we experienced resulted from a moment when someone lost sight of that. As leaders, you must always choose the common good,” he said. “Class of 2021, you are graduating into a world of unprecedented complexity and challenge, but I am hopeful because I know what you can do.”