MUSC’s first Black female physician to address graduates May 18

April 19, 2024
Rose Delores Gibbs is sitting in a chair wearing a sweater and glasses. She's holding her hands up while speaking.
Dr. Rose Delores Gibbs graduated from MUSC in 1973. She was featured in the SCETV special, “MUSC at 200: Then, Now, Next.”

Rose Delores Gibbs, M.D., the first Black woman to graduate from MUSC’s College of Medicine, will address MUSC’s 2024 graduating class during commencement ceremonies on May 18. Approximately 590 candidates are expected to receive their degrees from MUSC’s six colleges: Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy.

Originally from Moncks Corner, Gibbs was drawn to the field of medicine after being inspired by the exemplary care provided by her hometown family physician, Walter Evans, M.D. After completing her undergraduate studies at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, Gibbs returned to Charleston to pursue her medical education at MUSC. 

After graduating from MUSC in 1973, Gibbs completed her residency training in internal medicine and an infectious diseases fellowship at Howard University Hospital. She also earned a certification in tropical medicine from Walter Reed Army Institute of Research before working as a U.S. Peace Corps medical officer for two years in Sierra Leone and Liberia, Africa. 

Headshot of man in a suit and tie 
Kenneth G. Craven

Between 1980 and 1984, she was named chief of Medical Operations for the Peace Corps in Washington, D.C., overseeing 5,500 volunteers across 55 countries worldwide. She then became  director of the Office of International Health at Charles R. Drew Postgraduate Medical School in Los Angeles. Later, she returned to the Lowcountry, dedicating 35 years to private practice, serving the Moncks Corner community. For a decade in her hometown, she operated a free medical clinic, providing essential health care services to the local Hispanic community. 

As an active alumna dedicated to community service, Gibbs played a pivotal role as both a founding member and president of the MUSC Black Alumni Association. She held various roles within the College of Medicine Alumni Association, including secretary, treasurer and president. Additionally, Gibbs led medical and spiritual missions to Roatan Island, Honduras. 

During this year’s ceremony, MUSC will confer an honorary degree upon Kenneth (Kenny) G. Craven, a prominent figure in the Lowcountry community. Craven is renowned as a successful businessman, dedicated director, generous philanthropist and esteemed leader.

His notable positions within the Omar Shriners in Charleston, including his tenure as Imperial Potentate of Shriners International from 2022 to 2023, mark him as a distinguished figure within the Masonic brotherhood. Craven’s visionary leadership was instrumental in establishing a pediatric burn center at the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital. MUSC leaders say his commitment to philanthropy and community service has left an indelible mark on MUSC and beyond.

MUSC’s 194th Commencement Ceremony will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 18, at the North Charleston Coliseum, 5001 Coliseum Drive in North Charleston.

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