TUSPM Graduation Speech 2018 by John Martucci, DPM
Good afternoon families, friends, faculty, administration, guests, and
First of all, this has been an amazing four years. Thank you all for
giving me the opportunity and honor to represent our class. I think you all
will agree that we’re ready to move to new places, get into the operating
room more, wear scrubs regularly, and be the lowest on the totem pole again.
But while our student days may be over, the learning, studying, and
researching will continue. And the neat thing about podiatric medicine is that
while we’re parting ways today, we’ll cross paths in the future.
Over these next years, we’ll share stories, cases, hang out at
conferences, and watch each other find our own in podiatry. In these seats
today, we have future editors of the Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery,
leaders of state and national podiatric medical associations, team doctors,
leading researchers, industry leaders, and pioneers of limb salvage. And when
we’re in those roles in the future, we’ll always have these years to look back
But today, let’s reminisce a little. Think back to the long hours in
anatomy lab when we felt the first bit of anxiety, nerves and excitement.
Think about yourself now in the operating room identifying that same muscle
or nerve without a thought. Recall when you put your first cast on a classmate
and the last one you put on a patient. Thumb through your first standardized
patient encounter, your first clinic encounter and your last few at the Foot and
Ankle Institute. Remember numbing up each other’s toes and feet with local
anesthesia? How shaky were you? Compare that to your last few injections.
Remember practicing operating room set-up – you felt all eyes on you
as you tried to work quickly without breaking a sterile field. And then there
was practicing instrument skills in Dr. Meyr’s labs on foam pads and pig feet
leading up to the first time you sutured. And who could forget our final days
in the classroom when we showcased our artistic creations through our
reconstructive surgery projects—we have Backstreet Boys,
cinematographers, comedians and dancers among us, as well!
Now, do you remember the first time you were asked, “Why feet,
Doc?” It may have been coming from a patient, friend, Uber driver, the aisle
seat on your flight, or another medical person. Explaining why we went into
medicine is simple, but articulating what it is about feet, ankles, and legs in
particular takes personal stories and experiences like those I previously
But, in addition to our labs, rotations, and clinic days together, there’s
something else that answers the question, “Why feet, Doc?” for me and
perhaps for you, as well—some of life’s greatest milestones and moments
revolve around our feet. Imagine a child’s first steps. A joyful, cultural dance.
A liberating sprint. Crowds jumping in elation. Performances that call for a
Then, think about a child who won’t play at school because he says
his heel hurts when he runs, and the worried parent. A ballet dancer who
experiences great pain every moment she goes on pointe, and the threatened
performance. A grandparent confined to a wheelchair due to the debilitating
ankle arthritis, and the saddened grandchild. A parent facing an amputation,
and the struggling family.
The ability to rise, stand, walk, run, dance, jump and progress rests
upon those feet. Going forth, those meaningful actions—when aching,
broken, or painful—will depend on your knowledge, assurance, compassion,
and skill to restore them. It will be our roles and privileges to evaluate, treat,
counsel and take part in the lives of those struggling with mobility.
Today, as graduating doctors of podiatric medicine, we leave with lots
of stories, experiences, and memories together that have helped us prepare for
this day and the many journeys to come. But now, we go forth to form more
together in the field of podiatric medicine. Congratulations, Class of 2018!
Thank you and best of luck!
Your fellow classmate and colleague,
John A. Martucci, DPM