LADIES: It is my happy privilege to congratulate you on the completion of your three years of preliminary study, and on your merited reward in receiving the degree of Doctor of Medicine from the oldest and largest medical college for women in the world.
By this degree you are permitted to enter the ranks of one of the most ancient, honorable, and laborious professions. With it you assume certain valued privileges, and have cast upon you certain weighty duties. Both the privileges and the duties will exact from you all the intelligence, skill, tact, and faithfulness which you possess.
You will observe that I said a moment since you had finished your "preliminary" studies; for your first and most pressing duty after graduation, and one for which happily you will at first have ample time, is to continue your medical studies. I do not say complete them, for, be your lives even prolonged far past the allotted threescore and ten, instant, constant, intense study is the imperative condition of the right kind of success. You know very little now. Happy both you and your patients, if even with gray hairs comes ever-growing knowledge.
But you have other duties than those to self—you have great duties to the communities in which you will live. Women especially will not only look to you in times of peril, whether in childbirth or sickness or accident, but also for guidance in that greatest duty and privilege—the prevention rather than the cure of disease. This is the glory of our times and the magnificent duty of our profession, that by enlightened
- The Address to the graduates of the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, delivered March 11, 1885.