Two Duke students on a scooter.
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University Communications

Alumni Look Back

Duke Magazine campaign collects short 'commencement speeches' for graduates.

Vikas Patel ’96, M.D.’00 spent more than a decade getting an education at Duke—first as an undergraduate double-majoring in biology and religion, then as medical student and finally as a resident.

Looking back, his Duke education helped him succeed and get to where he is today, he says, but he perhaps gained something even more important.

“The wonderful friendships that I made during my time at Duke,” he says. “My friends to this day are like family.”

That was the wisdom Patel shared with Duke’s newest class of graduates ahead of Sunday’s 2021 commencement exercises. As part of a Duke Magazine and an @DukeAlumni social media campaign to gather inspiration as graduates began their Forever Duke journey off campus, alumni like Patel were asked to share their 50-word-or-fewer “commencement speech” with the Class of 2021.