There was a buzz in the air in the atrium outside of the Watanakunakorn Auditorium as first-year medicine students gathered to wait for the start of the White Coat Ceremony. Students excitedly chatted as they got to know one another after just a few days on campus. In a little over an hour, they would have their fresh new white coats placed upon them by second-year students who were in their place at this time last year – making them “official” College of Medicine students.
The procession was led by Adam Goodwill, Ph.D., and Heather O’Leary, Ph.D., both assistant professors of Integrative Medical Sciences. Members of the faculty, stage party and first-year students were met with applause from the packed NEW Center Ballroom audience.
President John Langell and Eugene Mowad, M.D., helped welcome the crowd and offered words of inspiration for the students as they begin their journey at NEOMED. Dr. Mowad then announced Darcie Flower, senior executive director of operations for the College of Medicine, as the recipient of the Dean’s Leadership Award. Flower was unable to attend in-person but addressed the audience remotely.
Yoleetah Ilodi, M.D., assistant dean of diversity, followed with her address, offering thoughtful advice to the students in attendance.
“You’re committing to putting your patients first, pursuing knowledge for a lifetime and leading with intention," said Dr. Ilodi. “This moment is twofold: it contains the joy and pride of having accomplished all you have to this point, and the realization of the gravity of the road ahead. Your path awaits, and your future is bright.”
The big moment then came for an inspired group of students. They had their names called to walk across the stage to have their white coats placed upon them by second-year medicine students who will serve as role models for the Class of 2026.
Corrie Stofcho, M.D. (’06), led the class in the reading of the Oath of Professional Commitment, which states in part:
I will lead my life and practice my art in uprightness and honor.
Following the ceremony, students rushed out to celebrate with family and loved ones, with beaming smiles, camera flashes and hugs filling up the second floor of the NEW Center as a major milestone was celebrated.