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UA College of Medicine welcomes class of 2018 with White Coat Ceremony

%09The+University+of+Arizona+College+of+Medicine+Tucson%26%238217%3Bs+21st+annual+White+Coat+Ceremony+was+held+in+Centennial+Hall+on+Friday.+Following+the+recessional%2C+the+new+students+gathered+outside+to+take+a+group%0Aphotograph.+
Savannah Douglas

The University of Arizona College of Medicine Tucson’s 21st annual White Coat Ceremony was held in Centennial Hall on Friday. Following the recessional, the new students gathered outside to take a group
photograph.

The UA College of Medicine — Tucson held the 21st annual White Coat Ceremony to celebrate the 115 members of the class of 2018 at Centennial Hall on FridaY. The ceremony is a symbolic induction for medical students marking their entrance into the field of medicine.

The ceremony began with a procession, where students entered the hall in cohorts of six, led by their faculty mentors, with their white coats draped over their left arms. Despite instructions to stay seated, excited family members and friends jumped up to wave or shout to their loved ones as the procession moved down the aisles.

The white coats used in the ceremony were provided by donations from faculty and alumni of the College of Medicine.

The ceremony was emceed by Kevin Moynahan, deputy dean of education in the College of Medicine, and the opening remarks were made by Joe “Skip” Garcia, senior vice president for health sciences.

The first White Coat Ceremony was held at Columbia University in 1993, Moynahan said and the UA was the first Western university to begin practicing the tradition the same year. The ceremony is meant to mirror the convocation ceremony the medical students will attend in four years, Moynahan said.

The keynote speaker was Adele O’Sullivan, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. O’Sullivan described her journey into medicine, specifically a life-changing moment that drew her to a career of working with people experiencing homelessness.

“In the next few years, you will see so many ways your career can change you,” O’Sullivan said. “You’ll be pulled in many ways.”

O’Sullivan said she had never expected to work in her current field, but after working at a clinic in Phoenix, she founded Circle the City, an organization that provides medical help to homeless individuals. O’Sullivan advised students to stay open minded and to let their future find them.

“I wish for you great satisfaction and accomplishment, richness in relationships, both with your colleagues and your patients,” O’Sullivan said. “May you practice the art as well as the science of medicine with great respect for those who have modeled them and taught them to you.”

After O’Sullivan’s address, the class of 2018 stood and recited the mission statement of the College of Medicine. During the presentation of the white coats, students were called by name and individually walked on stage where their mentors helped them put on their white coats for the first time. Students then signed the mission statement they had recited earlier.

Afterwards, the class of 2018 stood to a round of applause from the audience. After the ceremony, students milled amongst loved ones, taking photos and shaking hands.

“[I feel] really welcome, really empowered, ready for medical school,” said Marissa Posada, a participant in the ceremony.

Thirty-three of the medical students graduated from the UA, but many of them are from across the nation.

“I’m ecstatic. I’m so excited to start,” said Sean Behan, another participant “I’m from upstate New York, so this is a big change for me, but I really look forward to beginning. I think we’re all looking forward to getting started.”

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