White Coat Ceremony marks beginning of clinical years for class of 2010

They are officially half-way done, and they have white coats to prove it.

photo by Sarah Kiewel

photo by Sarah Kiewel

Close to 900 friends, family and faculty gathered to watch the 128 members of the 2010 medical class receive their white coats during the 11th Annual White Coat Ceremony at the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday, May 18.

The White Coat Ceremony, sponsored by the Office of Medical Alumni Affairs and the Mark S. Gold, M.D. White Coat Ceremony endowment, marks a milestone in the education of a medical student as they embark into their two clinical years.

The class of 2010 is in for the time of their life, and this is the first step, said Dean Bruce Kone, during the opening remarks. The medical students will go through many challenging experiences that will shape them as future physicians — like delivering babies or holding a patient’s hand as he passes away.

“I’m ready to start seeing patients instead of reading books,” said Nicole Nicophene, white coat recipient. “I’m ready to start touching lives. That’s what I’ve always wanted and is the reason I’m in medical school.”

This year’s ceremony included the addition of the Honorary White Coat, which was presented to UF COM alumnus William Leach, MD71, of Leesburg, Fla. Leach was honored with a glass-encased physician’s white coat adorned with the UF COM logo in traditional orange and blue in recognition of his tireless work in improving women’s health and his commitment to providing health care for the underserved.

As each medical student walked across the stage to receive his or her new medical school “uniform,” family members and friends cheered enthusiastically from their seats.

“I’m walking on cloud 9 right now,” said Rick Firth, as he prepared to watch his son, Daniel, receive his white coat. “It’s a real honor. I tell everyone about this.”

JR Taylor III, academic chair for the class of 2010, led his fellow classmates in reciting their Class Code of Ethics, which includes 10 declarations of commitment written by the class.

The afternoon ended with many smiles, laughs, hugs and photographs, and with some very proud parents.

“I’m very emotional right now,” said Janet El-Sergany, as she looked at her son, Amr, for the first time wearing his white coat. “It’s very exciting. I’m just so proud of him.”