The UCF College of Medicine’s seventh class, 121 new students starting their journey to become physician Knights, received their first white coats Monday and experienced another UCF tradition: a first-day lesson from their dean on the characteristics of becoming “The Good Doctor.”
The Class of 2019 has a diverse background of experiences that brought them to medical school. They are varsity athletes in football, swimming and tennis. They are artists, scientists and global humanitarians. Four are military veterans, two of whom served on battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sixty-seven have already published scientific research on topics ranging from cancer to insulin.
“Class members, today is your special day, culminating from years of unyielding determination and hard work,” UCF President John C. Hitt told students, families and friends at the white coat ceremony in the Student Union’s Pegasus Ballroom. “You are now an essential part of a bold young medical college that aspires to be a 21st century model for medical education.”
To view a video of the ceremony and interviews with some of the aspiring physicians, click here.
The incoming class was selected from a College of Medicine record applicant pool of 4,875 – more than even 2009 (4,307) when it offered full scholarships to the entire charter class. Admissions officials credit the increase to the medical school’s growing national reputation and its performance in residency match and national board scores, where UCF students score well above most U.S. medical schools.
The new students’ alma maters include Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Yale, Duke, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, UCLA, USC, Case Western, Auburn, Northwestern, Boston University and Emory. The class also has the most UCF undergraduates to date – 24 – making the Class of 2019 the first in which UCF undergraduates outnumber graduates from any other Florida university.
Two of those UCF alumni were biomedical sciences majors at the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, where Dr. Kyle Rohde was their teacher and scientific mentor. New medical students Haleigh Hodges and Brad Rosenkrantz worked in Rohde’s lab researching treatments for tuberculosis. Their mentor came to Monday’s white coat ceremony beaming as his protégés stood on the stage and donned their Pegasus-decorated white coats.
After the ceremony, he shared lunch with the students and their families. “It has been my privilege and pleasure to mentor these two truly outstanding young people,” Rohde said. “It has been extremely gratifying to watch them mature and develop into independent scientists. I am excited for them as they get the opportunity to live their dream of becoming physicians who I am confident will make me, their families and UCF very proud.”
The white coat ceremony is a medical school tradition in which programs welcome first-year students as colleagues in health care. Before students received their white coats, they had their first class with Dr. Deborah German, vice president for medical affairs and founding dean. At each year’s ceremony, German presents “The Good Doctor: A UCF Tradition” in which she asks students to imagine the person they love most and then describe the traits they would want if that person became very ill and needed a physician.
As students suggest traits, German writes them on a chalkboard. The board, which is displayed the rest of the year, is the contract students make with the dean, their faculty, the community and each other for how they will care for others. This year’s list included words such as ethical, compassionate, reliable, patient, thorough, knowledgeable, innovative, and a combination of humble and confident.
“Always remember the good doctor lives in each of you,” German told students when they completed the list. “Like a seed, it has been planted today. Our community stands behind you. You are ready to begin.”
To learn more about some of the students in the College of Medicine’s Class of 2019: