A brass band, Health and Human Services Secretary Louis W. Sullivan and a barbershop singing group of new or future physicians helped more than 200 Georgetown University School of Medicine students celebrate their graduation yesterday in the Concert Hall of the Kennedy Center.

The graduation ceremony, one of several held throughout the region this weekend, drew jubilant relatives and friends -- who cheered and waved from the Concert Hill's balconies as members of the class of 1990 strode down the red-carpeted aisles in their black and green caps and gowns.

"Your degree is the result of dedication, commitment and countless hours of hard work," Sullivan told the graduates in his commencement address. "Most of you and your families have made extraordinary sacrifices for this moment."

Sullivan, who was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree by the medical school, challenged the graduates to work toward building the widest range of skills in their careers and to become "renaissance physicians" and scientists.

"At a time when medicine is becoming increasingly specialized, more is expected of you," Sullivan said. "We must do more to help patients stay healthy and to prevent the onset of disease."

Citing the rising cost of health care -- more than $600 billion last year -- Sullivan said the graduates must look for new and better ways to cut costs and work to relieve "the terrible disparity in care received by our poor and minority citizens."

The Health and Human Services secretary, an outspoken critic of smoking, called on the graduates to make health promotion and disease prevention a national crusade. He said physicians must be leaders in urging the elimination of smoking and illegal drug use, the elimination or moderate use of alcohol and the adoption of better dietary behavior, proper vaccination, use of seat belts and other health-conscious practices.

Earlier in the day, more than 400 Georgetown University students were awarded bachelor of science degrees from the university's School of Foreign Service. The graduation was held on campus but moved indoors, to McDonough Gymnasium, because of rain.

Commencement exercises featured Hans-Dietrich Genscher, West Germany's foreign minister and deputy chancellor, who told the graduates they were entering the foreign service field at a time of unprecedented historical changes in Europe.

Genscher, who promised that a unified Germany would remain a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, was given a standing ovation at the end of his commencement speech. He also received an honorary doctorate in humane letters. {See related story, page A37.}

Also yesterday, Georgetown's School of Nursing awarded 59 bachelor of science and nursing degrees. The keynote address was delivered by Joyce Fitzpatrick, dean and professor at Case Western University's Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, who also received an honorary doctorate of humane letters.

At Catholic University, U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh delivered the commencement address for about 280 law school graduates, including evening program graduate Bonnie M. Ryan, a deaf and sight-impaired student who plans to be a health-care lawyer. Thornburgh was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree.