A week of firsts for new med students

The members of UF College of Medicine’s class of 2015 began their first week of medical school Monday, Aug. 15, which included learning how best to navigate the new world of medical school for a successful four-year-long journey.  

UF COM welcomes Class of 2015 


The 136 members of the UF College of Medicine’s class of 2015 arrived at the Communicore Building Monday morning in their best suits, ready to begin the challenging—and rewarding—journey that is medical school.

Michael L. Good, M.D., dean of the College of Medicine, welcomed the first-year students as their orientation week kicked off.

“Congratulations – the road to get here is not easy,” he told the roomful of students.

In fact, Ira Gessner, M.D., immediate past chair of the college’s medical selection committee, said the Class of 2015 saw the highest number of applicants the college has ever received—2,853 applications, which is up 200 from last year.

Michael L. Good, M.D., dean of UF College of Medicine shares the college’s history and accomplishments with the new class. Photo by Jesse S. Jones.

“You’re here because you belong here and deserve to be here,” he told the students.

More than half of the class was made up of UF undergraduates —74 regular graduates and 12 from UF’s junior honors program. Still, Gessner said those accepted students make up only about 10 percent of the 700 to 800 applications the college received from UF undergraduates.

Once students are accepted however, the college wants to see them succeed, said Patrick Duff, M.D., associate dean for student affairs and professor of obstetrics and gynecology. The COM has a 96 percent graduation rate for four years and offers opportunities to work in small groups with their peers, plus faculty mentoring.

“You’ll be well prepared to be great physicians,” said Good.

UF COM first-year students listen to faculty presentations during their orientation.

The UF COM also offers students opportunities to be involved in medical outreach on a local and international level, do research in dozens of different areas and have access to a wealth of resources across UF’s Health Science Center campus, Good said.

He highlighted medical innovations UF physicians have developed over the past five decades, plus current accomplishments of the college’s alumni.

“This is what being a physician is all about—changing people’s lives,” Good told the college’s newest medical students.

A family dinner


Michael L. Good, M.D., dean of UF COM, greets first-year medical students at the welcome dinner. Photo by Jesse S. Jones.

After a full, first day of orientation, first-year UF medical students were invited to a “family dinner” at Emerson Alumni Hall, hosted by Michael L. Good, M.D., dean of the College of Medicine.

“Good news,” Good said, greeting the class of 2015. “I heard you all passed your first day.”

The evening began with a message from the dean as new students and faculty sat at round tables to enjoy food and company.

“Families share meals together and care for one another in many different ways,” Good said. “We are a family here at the College of Medicine.”

He continued on by encouraging students to “begin with the end in mind” to plan ahead and find balance in the tough journey physicians face. Then he emphasized the importance of the bonds students will form in the next four years.

Michael L. Good, M.D., gets to know the new class of medical students. Photo by Jesse S. Jones.

“I guarantee you that people you meet today will be your lifelong friends,” Good said. “Get to know one another and get to know the faculty.”

Ross Zeitlin, a first-year medical student who attended Washington University in St. Louis for his undergraduate degree, shared his reasons for choosing UF.

“I really like the communal and collaborative aspect of this program,” he said. “I’m happy with how friendly everyone is. I look forward to a positive and successful career at UF College of Medicine.”

Peter Hong, another first-year student who is also a UF graduate, commented on his first day.

“Our first day was great,” he said. “I feel like faculty and second-year students make quite an effort to incorporate us into the family and ease the anxiety of being first-year students.”

First-year UF COM students interact during the dean’s welcome dinner. Photo by Jesse S. Jones.

Patrick Duff, M.D., associate dean for student affairs and professor of obstetrics and gynecology, also attended the event and conversed with new students and faculty.

“The intellectual caliber of this group is excellent,” Duff said. “We have newly renovated basic science auditoriums and plans for students to encounter patient contact this week. It is going to be great.”