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Graduating Residents and Fellows, accompanied by their families, attended the Department of Surgeries Graduation Ceremony on June 7, 2019 at the Carolina Inn, Chapel Hill. This year’s event included fellows from Critical Care, Advanced Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery, Complex General Surgical Oncology, and Vascular Surgery as well as residents from General Surgery, and Plastic Surgery.

The event began with remarks from Dr. Kibbe and the presentation of four prestigious awards.

Mia Klein, MD, Wins George F. Sheldon Award Mia Klein, MD
Postdoctoral Research FellowWinner of the George F. Sheldon, MD, FACS Surgical Research Award for her oral presentation given earlier in the afternoon at the Research Day event.
Joanna Grudziak, MD, Wins Herbert J. Proctor Award for Excellence Joanna Grudziak, MD
Graduating Chief ResidentWinner of the Herbert J. Proctor Award for Excellence in Surgical Research.
Bailey Sanders, MD, won the H. Max Schiebel, MD Award Bailey Sanders, MD
Graduating Chief ResidentWinner of the H. Max Schiebel, MD Award, given to a graduate who is considered technically the most proficient in skill with surgical procedures
Michael Williford, MD won the Nathan A. Womack Award Michael Williford, MD
Graduating Chief ResidentWinner of the Nathan A. Womack Award, which is given to an outstanding graduating chief resident who showed excellence in teaching, investigation and patient care.


After the awards, residents, and fellows were called up for the traditional ceremony of “Pinning of the White Owl.” This tradition harkens back to the era of Dr. Sheldon who in 1990 as Chair of the Department began the tradition of honoring graduating residents by pinning a white owl to their lapel. “The white owl tradition centered on having the strength of character to admit one’s mistakes and the wisdom to learn from those mistakes,” Christopher C. Baker, former Professor of Surgery, in his 1992 Whitehead Lecture.

The Department would like to congratulate all of the graduates. Your hard work and dedication have been inspiring! We wish you luck in the next phase of your journey.

Womack Graduation Ceremony

For more pictures check out the UNC Department of Surgery Facebook page.