Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Biology with a minor in music
Hometown, Kampala, Uganda
Keith Kyewalabye first thought about becoming a neurosurgeon when he was about 11 years old. He was attending Scripture Union Camp in his native Uganda and saw the movie “Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story.” No one in his family was in medicine but that film “sparked the fire,” says Kyewalabye, who was selected to give the commencement remarks at Caldwell University’s undergraduate ceremonies on May 23.
At the ceremonies, Kyewalabye quoted Julius Caesar, “Veni, vidi, vici,” and gave examples of the many ways the graduates lived out that saying, which translates as “I came, I saw, I conquered.”
“Even if we might not have known each and every other person in our graduating class, we were and still are connected—if not solely by our humanity, then also by our shared commitment to see this education through … by this desire to achieve. We came!” said Kyewalabye.
He pointed out that graduates made it through challenges like a global pandemic, Intro to Philosophy, being international or first-generation students, having low-income backgrounds or, more universally, “just being naïve to the maturity that success in a college education often requires. We saw!”
“We have been immersed in our core values of respect, integrity, community and excellence. We conquered!” said Kyewalabye, who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology with a music minor, magna cum laude.
“Life, with its ebbs and flows, has given us another starting point just as we crossed the finish line … this end is truly just a beginning for something new,” said Kyewalabye.
As he reflects on his years at Caldwell, Kyewalabye is grateful for the many friendships and professional relationships—all stepping stones for success.
In between hitting the biology books and minoring in music, he was a member of the chorale and the marching band and was a residence hall director “not as a grad student,” he notes proudly. Kyewalabye also attended conferences, for instance in his freshman year when he was selected to go to the World Youth Forum Model United Nations in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
His next move will be heading to the University of California-San Francisco’s Brain Tumor Research Center to work as a junior specialist. He is ready. As he told his fellow graduates at commencement, “I could not be more excited for what the future holds because despite challenges and dark times, we will emerge as victors, just as we have today.” Quoting rapper and songwriter Kendrick Lamar, he said, “If God got us, then we gon’ be alright.”