SPH's Carrington Urges Graduates to 'Defend the Defenseless'

Dr. Arese Carrington, the School of Public Health (SPH) student who speaks this morning as the graduate English orator, will urge her listeners to "Defend the Defenseless"--a message she learned from her father during the Nigerian Civil War in the 1960s.

Carrington has devoted her life's work to fulfilling this maxim, earning an M.D. in 1980 and a master's degree from SPH today.

At the age of nine, Carrington witnessed firsthand the civil strife in her native Nigeria during the military regime of General Sani Abacha.


Her family split into two groups to increase the chance of survival during the Civil War. Before he said goodbye, Carrington's father told her to look out for her younger brother and sister--to "defend the defenseless."

When she speaks this morning, Carrington says she will try to give her listeners "something to latch onto," just like the message her father gave her many years ago.

And she hopes to show graduates in every field how each can contribute to this mission.

"All of us individuals who have been blessed have a role to play," Carrington says.

From the civil strife she witnessed during her childhood--which was otherwise comfortable, she says--Carrington pursued a career in medicine and became a practicing physician in 1980. In 1986, she founded and became chief executive of Health and Medical Services, an international consulting firm specializing in preventive health care in the workplace.

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