The UCF College of Medicine welcomed 120 new medical students – its first class at full enrollment – at today’s White Coat Ceremony, a meaningful tradition where a medical school recognizes first-year students at colleagues dedicated to patient care.

The young medical school now has an enrollment of 360 – a nine-fold increase in the last five years. By 2016-2017, UCF will be educating 480 physicians-in-training a year.

“Just six years ago, we had yet to break ground on the medical college that made possible this morning’s White Coat Ceremony. And it was just three years ago that we moved into a facility that anchors a thriving Medical City,” UCF President John C. Hitt said as he opened the ceremony. “The remarkable rise of the College of Medicine underscores how landmark community achievements can evolve when people work together for the greater good.”

The incoming Class of 2017 was selected from a pool of 3,843 applicants based on their academic excellence and passion for medicine. They averaged an MCAT score of 31 and a grade point average of 3.75 on a 4-point scale. They are graduates of institutions including Duke, Johns Hopkins, Brown, Dartmouth, Georgetown, Brigham Young, Vanderbilt, University of Florida, Florida State and UCF. The new medical students are song writers, actors, painters and dancers. They are athletes in sports ranging from lacrosse to Florida State’s Flying High Circus. The class includes a varsity swim team captain and a martial art stunt double. They are scientists, engineers, economists and humanities majors. Thirteen published medical research before ever coming to medical school.

They received their white coats from Dr. Deborah German, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine after participating in their first class, “The Good Doctor,” which has become a UCF White Coat tradition. It in, Dr. German tells students to imagine the person they love most in desperate need of medical care. What are the qualities the students want in the doctor who will treat their loved on? As the students suggest traits, Dr. German writes the words on a chalk board that remains on display throughout the school year.

This year’s class offered characteristics that included “courageous,” “patient,” respectful,” “honest,” “collaborative” and for the first time, “affordable,” a term that generated laughter and much agreement from the audience.

“This is your contract with me — with your faculty, friends, family, community and each other,” Dr. German said as she reviewed the list with the students.  “With the guidance of the faculty and your own hard work, you will become The Good Doctor.”

She also introduced students to the College of Medicine faculty and staff, people she called “the heart and soul of this medical school.”

The faculty “created our College of Medicine from nothing and are now poised to expand it, always looking ahead,” she said. “Our faculty has made an impact on our community and beyond. They are supported by a dedicated staff that works tirelessly to assure that every aspect of the college is excellent and is ready for our students.”

Orientation for the new students begins Tuesday.

To watch White Coat Ceremony video: