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Dr. Raj Ratan Named School of Health and Natural Sciences Speaker for the Mercy College Virtual Commencement 2020


Dr. Ratan Named School of Health and Natural Sciences Speaker for Mercy College Virtual Commencement

For the first time in 85 years, Mercy College is saluting graduates at a Virtual Commencement Ceremony on Wednesday, May 20. While unable to gather in person due to social distancing guidelines, the College is committed to marking this milestone for the more than 3,000 hardworking and deserving class of 2020. The virtual ceremony will include all the pomp and circumstance of an in-person ceremony including remarks from the distinguished Honorary Degree recipients and student speakers, acknowledgment of awards and of course, the conferring of degrees by Mercy President Tim Hall. 

As one of four Honorary Degree recipients, Dr. Raj Ratan is being honored for his demonstrated leadership, lifetime achievements and outstanding contributions to society. As the School of Health and Natural Sciences Speaker, he is delivering remarks to President Hall, Dean Toglia, Trustees, Faculty, Alumni and Mercy College staff, Parents and Friends, and, of course, the Proud 2020 class.

The world-changing COVID-19 pandemic confirms the wisdom of the degree in Natural and Health Sciences. Never before has there been a greater need for, or appreciation of, the efforts of scientists and health care practitioners. To celebrate the accomplishments of the graduating class of 2020, Dr. Ratan offers one simple piece of advice, “Learn how to fail. And each time you fail, make sure you are failing better.”

In summary, Dr. Ratan shares, “Failures have underlined a paradoxical but, in retrospect, sensible conclusion -- that fixing the brain is different from fixing the liver or the kidney. Our four treatments, therefore, must reflect the differences. So, failures that lead us to productive paradoxes or contradictions can be very positive and can undoubtedly set the table for future successes.”

To close his remarks and to bring the graduating class of 2020 into their future, Dr. Ratan reads a quote from Samuel Becket’s thoughtful book entitled, FAILURE: Why Science is so successful?

 “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail Better.”
- Samuel Becket

Rajiv Ratan, M.D., Ph.D., executive director at Burke Neurological Institute, and Burke professor of neurology and neuroscience at Weill Cornell Medicine, will be speaking at the School of Health and Natural Sciences ceremony.

Ratan started his career as the chief resident in Neurology at Johns Hopkins and was promoted to assistant professor of Neurology and Rehab Medicine. That same year he started the Ratan Laboratory and was recruited to set up the Neuroprotection laboratory in the Department of Neurology and Program in Neuroscience at Harvard Medical School where he later became an Associate Professor.  In 2002, Ratan joined Burke Neurological Institute as director, bringing the Ratan Laboratory with him. He was formally appointed the Winifred Masterson Burke Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience at Weill Medical College in 2004 and named an associate dean for the Medical College in 2011.

Ratan attended the Webb School of California. He received his bachelor’s degree  in neuroscience from Amherst College in 1981. He completed an M.D. and Ph.D. at the New York University School of Medicine.