In her speech to the crowd, College of Medicine Dean Colleen Koch, M.D., M.S., M.B.A., noted that when the medical students put on their white coats, they step into the role of an advocate for their patients, a teammate to colleagues and a lifelong learner.
“Your white coat is a signal to your community that you are an individual who upholds the ideals of honesty, integrity and compassion, and I have full confidence that you will work each day to earn the honor and responsibility of serving patients,” she said. “You will form remarkable bonds on this path and will no doubt make a profound impact on the lives of others.”
Shelley Collins, M.D., associate dean for student affairs, spoke of the significance of the celebration for families and the power of the white coat as a symbol of caring for others, and she cautioned students to not mistake the white coat as a symbol of power.
“The power in the symbolism of the white coat is the commitment you have toward being a compassionate, honest clinician,” she said.
After the ceremony, rising third-year medical student Abeer Dagra said she is excited for the opportunity to care for her patients and put into practice the knowledge she gained during her first two years in medical school.
“I have waited for this day for quite a long time,” she said. “But it’s more than that. It’s my dream, and my mother’s, and it’s perfect that I got my white coat on this day because it’s also Mother’s Day, so it’s kind of like a tribute to her.”