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Arts and Sciences Graduate Fulfills Lifelong Dream by Finishing Medical School

April 15, 2021
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Donovan Griggs, a graduate of the Anderson University College of Arts and Sciences, is finishing medical school before entering an internship at the prestigious Massachusetts General Hospital.

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Donovan Griggs is realizing a dream that eluded him for a long time.

A graduate of the Anderson University College of Arts and Sciences, on May 8, 2021, Griggs will graduate from medical school before heading to one of the nation’s most prestigious teaching hospitals.

The world of science came alive for Griggs when as a seventh-grader he was marveling over a chemical reaction bubbling in a test tube. Another world of possibilities opened for him when as a student in high school he shadowed at a rehabilitation center that cultivated in him a passion for helping others. 

But it was actually a music scholarship that brought Griggs to Anderson University.

“That’s a funny story,” Griggs said. “I played trumpet throughout high school and decided I wanted to see if I could get a scholarship. I went on campus thinking ‘OK, I’m just going to use it as a practice run but I’m not going to actually come.’ I ended up loving it. I thought the campus was beautiful and the faculty was really nice.”

Griggs enrolled at Anderson University, majoring in biology. As a student he was involved in the Anderson Science Club. He also played in the University’s wind ensemble and brass quintet. 

“I was even fortunate enough to go with my quintet to the United Kingdom to play for colleges and churches,” he said. 

Though Griggs readily admits he didn’t exactly excel as a college student and didn’t enter medical school on his first try, it was the lifelong friendships and caring faculty at Anderson that kept him going. He is especially thankful to Dr. Carrie Koenigstein, his professor for biology and chemistry, who wrote recommendation letters on his behalf until he got accepted to Howard University College of Medicine. 

“Usually after you graduate, you don’t have that much of a relationship with professors, but she continued to write me these letters, so I owe her a great deal,” he said.

“Don came into Anderson wanting to go to medical school and stayed focused on that goal even when things were tough. I am so happy to see him succeed and begin a great residency program,” Koenigstein said.

“I studied so hard every day because I knew how hard I fought and how hard everyone else fought for me to get in,” said Griggs, adding that he completed his pre-clinical courses and was fourth in his class going into his third year of medical school. As a result, he was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) medical honor society and his peers also inducted him into the Gold Humanism Honor Society. He handily passed his United States Medical Examination Licensing Exam (USMLE), ranking in the 76th percentile for Step 1 and attaining the 90th percentile in Step 2. 

Upon his graduation May 8 from medical school, Griggs will begin his residency at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), a teaching hospital for Harvard Medical School. He is excited and humbled to be entering such a renowned hospital and looks forward to taking care of patients as he starts his internship. At the same time, he’s drawn to the educational aspect of medicine and hopes to pay it forward by some day teaching future medical students.

Looking back on the rigors of medical school with the complication of a pandemic thrown in, Griggs said, “Honestly in these times it’s really good to be able to trust in God and know there’s someone watching over us.” Faith and medicine come together for Griggs, who feels it’s important to encourage patients who have a personal faith to “lean in” to that faith in their journey toward healing. 

“One of the best things about teaching at Anderson is watching our graduates follow God’s plans for their lives,” Koenigstein said. “I am so proud of Don and happy that I got to be a small part of his journey to medical school.”

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