Every year around this time I can expect to cry. Medical School Match Day is an event celebrated every March across the U.S by graduating medical students. It is a rite of passage where these students find out where they will spend the next 3-7 years in a residency program getting hands-on experience in a specific discipline. Since 1952 a mathematical algorithm matches some 30,000 medical students in the US with hospitals across the country. Match Day for the University of Minnesota Medical School has been taking place at McNamara Alumni Center for 13 years, all of which I have witnessed from the back of the room. Today, March 17, is Match Day 2017. Here at McNamara, students along with family members, friends and mentors gathered at 10 a.m. for a brief program leading up to the dramatic moment at 11 am where they tore open their letters received earlier in the ceremony. At that same moment medical students around the country did the very same thing. Every year I mark my calendar and stand in the back of the room, with tears in my eyes, where I witness joy, pride, disappointment, shock, sadness, humor, surprise, and maybe even envy.
Match Day is a perfect example of why events are important. Think about if Match Day did not exist as an event and if instead the students were emailed their letters. It’s possible that a medical student standing in line at Cub Foods with his bottle of laundry detergent received the email. Lucky him, he gets to share his great news with the cashier and the exasperated mom with the fussy baby behind him. Even if that student were to then text his girlfriend the good news she may respond with: “That’s great! Don’t forget the Tide.”
Days like today, with the sun pouring into Memorial Hall and the energy in the room off the charts, I am especially inspired to market the beautiful McNamara Alumni Center to event planners. I like to think that our McNamara team contributes in a small way to lifelong memories of McNamara event guests. In fact, repeat clients of ours often tell us “I remember my first time at McNamara when. . . ” So I ask you, will the event you’re planning be memorable like Match Day is for its attendees? Take a few minutes today to brainstorm new programming ideas that create a lasting impression.