With words like pioneer, partner, service and love, 55 College of Medicine seniors received their M.D. degrees Friday, marking their legacy as the second class of UCF-trained physicians to go out and care for the world.
In his remarks, UCF President John C. Hitt talked about the risks the Class of 2014 had taken. They enrolled in a brand new medical school that was not yet fully accredited, and unlike the charter class, they didn’t have full scholarships to help negate the risk. “You chose this medical school before its campus was finished. You came to this medical school when it was not accredited. And you arrived at this medical school without full scholarships,” Hitt said. “You took a big chance on UCF – and your leap of faith has paid off.”
The graduates now enter residency programs across Orlando, Florida and the nation. One-hundred percent of this year’s graduates matched into residencies in specialties ranging from pediatrics to internal medicine, dermatology to surgery. As they prepare for their graduate medical training, student graduation speaker Omar Shakeel reminded his colleagues, “Remember that sometimes the smallest of things we will do in our career may take up the most room in someone’s heart. Never give up on making a difference.”
The day had multiple special moments:
Mentioned often during graduation was The Good Doctor, a UCF tradition that begins with each class’ White Coat ceremony, where first-year students are recognized as colleagues in patient care. During White Coat, Dr. German asks students to name the characteristics they want to see in a doctor caring for their most beloved person. She writes the traits on a blackboard, which stays on display at the medical school throughout the class’ first year. “Have you become The Good Doctor?” Dr. German asked during graduation. “Does that question make you feel uncomfortable? I think the reason you feel this way is because you now know that becoming The Good Doctor is a lifelong endeavor.”
Graduation, at the Venue on the main UCF campus, even had its own selfie moment. Faculty speaker Dr. James Sanders, an assistant professor and neurosurgeon, began his remarks by taking a selfie on stage, drawing laughter from the crowd. He urged graduates to do the same as a record of their special day. “It is a privilege to be a physician and have the opportunity to care for others,” he said. “You will have days that test your metal and passions to practice medicine. It will be on those days that I ask you to remember today, the day you had the suffix, M.D., added to your name.”
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