For medical students, donning the white coat is an emotional and symbolic step on their journey into their medical careers. On Oct. 1, 2016, the Geisel School of Medicine’s Class of 2020 joined faculty, friends, and family for the school’s annual White Coat ceremony at Dartmouth’s Rollins Chapel, where they received words of encouragement and sage advice in addition to their new white coats.
Geisel’s Interim Dean Duane Compton spoke of the important symbolism of the white coat but told the students the power of the white coat lies in how they act and behave while wearing it. “So, as you don this white coat today, and as you wear it each day after today, be aware of your surroundings and be mindful of how your actions will impact on those around you. You have immense power to make a positive impact on the lives of other people. So act carefully, act thoughtfully, act responsibly, and act selflessly. In doing so, you will make an immense impact on those around you.”
One of the traditions at Geisel’s White Coat ceremony is for the second-year medical students to send a representative to welcome and share advice with the newest class. This year, Rachael Mazzamurro ’19 reminded students of the importance of working together. “Support each other in celebrating and commiserating the highs and lows that you will inevitably experience. And remember that medicine is a team sport. Our strength is as a collective, not as individuals,” she said.
Alumni speaker Bonnie Henderson, MD, DC’89, MED’93, also noted the students were joining an important community. “You do not wear this coat alone,” said Henderson. “You actually share similar challenges with colleagues all over the world. This white coat doesn’t know any religious, ethnic or cultural boundaries. And by wearing it you instantly enter into this fraternity bonded by this shared mission of healing humanity.” Dr. Henderson also serves on Geisel’s Board of Overseers.
The Class of 2020 is Geisel’s 220th MD class since its founding in 1797. The 92 students in the class, including 90 MD and two MD/PhD students, represent a small percentage of the nearly 6,700 who applied to Geisel via the American Medical College Application Service.
Class of 2020 White Coat Ceremony Photos:
Photos by Flying Squirrel Photography
Class of 2020 White Coat Ceremony Video: