Neurosurgeon Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa and Top Chef Marcus Samuelsson Honored at Southern Vermont College Commencement

April 4, 2011

Award-winning neurosurgeon Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and world-class chef Marcus Samuelsson both received the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at Southern Vermont College’s 84th Commencement ceremony on May 7. Dr. Quiñones-Hinojosa delivered the Commencement address to the SVC graduating class of 2011.

Dr. Quiñones-Hinojosa is the Associate Professor of Neurosurgery, Neuroscience, Oncology and Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and the Director of the Brain Tumor Stem Cell Laboratory and the Neuro-Oncology Surgical Outcomes Laboratory at Johns Hopkins. He also serves as Director of the Neurosurgical Pituitary Center at Johns Hopkins and Clinical Director of the Brain Tumor Surgery Program at Johns Hopkins Bayview Hospital.

Named as one of the 100 most influential Hispanics in 2008, Dr. Q was also selected by Popular Science magazine as one of their 6th Annual Brilliant Ten¬ - in their search for a young genius influencing the course of science. He received the 2008 National Leadership in Science and Medicine Award by the Merage Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. He has been awarded many prestigious grants, including a recent NIH R01 grant for his work with stem cells.

Only twenty years ago, Dr. Quiñones-Hinojosa was a Mexican immigrant working in California, attending night school at a community college. He went on to receive his medical degree from Harvard, where he graduated with honors. Completing his residency in neurosurgery at the University of California, San Francisco, he then pursued a postdoctoral fellowship in developmental and stem cell biology, which brought him to Johns Hopkins.

Dr. Quiñones-Hinojosa’s passion for education, his perseverance and his dedication to helping others is inspiring,” said SVC President Karen Gross. “His message in his work and life is, ‘You turn obstacles into opportunities.’ He is a remarkable role model for our graduates as they embark on their own journeys and careers.”

Ethiopian-born, Swedish raised, award-winning chef, author, and food activist Marcus Samuelsson addressed the graduates briefly after he received his Honorary Degree award at Commencement. Samuelsson is co-founder of the Marcus Samuelsson Group, co-owner/chef of Red Rooster in Harlem and has authored several award-winning cookbooks, including New American Table, his latest, which will be presented to the graduates, signed by the author.

In 2010, he won Top Master Chef on the competitive Bravo television program. Educated at the Culinary Institute in Gothenburg, Sweden, Samuelsson works with UNICEF to educate others about food and water inequities around the world. He was recently invited to participate as a cultural leader at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

 “Marcus Samuelsson’s entrepreneurial spirit, creativity and commitment to giving back to the community exemplify the values we try to instill in our students,” said Gross.

Over 110 students received their bachelor and associate degree diplomas at the 2011 SVC Commencement. In 2010, World Champion figure skater and public envoy Michelle Kwan addressed the graduates and received an honorary degree. In recent years, commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients included award-winning author Andre Dubus III, USA Today journalist Christine Dugas, ESPN sports commentator Sean McDonough and AK Steel CEO James Wainscott.