Lies and Deceptions: Canadian students disappointed that Dean plagiarized convocation speech

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Medical students at the University of Alberta are disappointed after they say their dean copied a graduation speech.

Students say a speech given by dean of medicine Philip Baker during a convocation banquet Friday night, which told personal stories about how medical science has helped his wife and children, was lifted from a talk given by surgeon Atul Gawande at Stanford University’s 2010 medical school convocation.

“It was a phenomenal speech…. I was very impressed with the speech. It was very eloquently given and reflected very well on the evening,” said medical student Jonathan Zaozirny, who was there for Baker’s remarks.

But when students looked up parts of the speech online later in the evening, Zaozirny said, they learned the speech was not written by Baker.

“The speech that we just received from the dean was word for word — minus a few small changes, changing Stanford medical school to University of Alberta medical school, erasing a few lines about medicare in the United States — but other than that, it was word for word … and it was a bit of a shock.”

Zaozirny said Baker even included a pause in the speech’s introduction.

“When you read the manuscript of the previous speech, it’s exactly how it was given in 2010, even with the pause,” he said.


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