Virginia Tech® home

2017 White Coat Ceremony

Visual text: Every year, medical students from across the country participate in a White Coat ceremony, welcoming them to the profession. 

Students don their white coats for the first time, and publicly declare their commitment to promoting humanism in medicine. 

This year, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine students found something special in the pocket of that white coat. 

[Lynne Pearo, former director of alumni affairs]: This year we asked our alumni to participate in the white coat ceremony by writing words of encouragement and reflections to our students. Giving their thoughts and personal experiences as to what this meant to them, not only as students going through medical school but now as residents and physicians. 

[Music with visual text: here are a few of those letters]

[Visually, a montage of several students opening their letters.]

[Lauren]: It's long.

[Giovanni, reading a letter]: Dear VTC-er, future doctor and colleague.

[Faith, reading a letter]: To the future doctor congratulations on the journey to get to this place. 

[Lauren, reading a letter]: Dear future colleague. Welcome and congratulations. I can only imagine the multitude of emotions that you're experiencing right now as you put on that crisp new coat. It's a moment you'll remember. I hope you cherish it. 

[Faith]: I know you're wearing this white coat took hours of hard work and maybe even some initial doubt. You're about to be a part of a school that is top tier. VTC is a place that not only challenges what you know but who you are as a person. You will be a better physician learner and leader because of these next four years. 

[Giovanni]: The most important thing to remember is that practicing medicine is not only a privilege but a hell of a lot of fun. 

[Lauren]: Soon you'll find those white coat pockets filled with more weight than just this letter. Your shoulders will start to ache as you stuff your pockets with tools like your stethoscope, your reflex hammer, and tuning fork. While all of these material things can weigh on your shoulders, nothing is heavier than the trust that your future patients will place on you the moment you walk in their room wearing that coat. 

[Giovanni]: That white coat gives you access to the most precious and valuable resource that there is: another human's body, mind, and spirit. 

[Lauren]: That coat was a contract between me and the patient. It allowed me to join the patient and their families in celebrating new life during labor and delivery, and also to experience the end of a life. 

[Faith]: I'm reminded that medicine is not always the hero of the day, but the gentle whisper saying "life is fragile." I encourage you to go out of your way to help others and to do the little that is extra for a patient, for a friend, or for your PBL group.

[Giovanni]: It is a tremendous honor and one that comes with privilege. It means that you are ready to take care of people and participate in the greatest profession that there is.

[Faith]: I hope that you remember the weight of that contract every time you put on that white coat. You remind yourself that you are now part of something much bigger than yourself. 

[Music with visual montage of students receiving their white coats] 

[No longer reading their respective letters, students reflect on the white coat experience]

[Giovanni Malaty, class of 2021]: The white coat ceremony means a lot of things to me. It means that primarily the career choice I've chosen has been validated. As they said in the white coat ceremony, we all belong here and there's no denying that now. 

[Lauren Cashman, class of 2021]: We delay the ceremony until after the first block so we have some ownership over the material and we got to kind of form our own ideas and prepare mentally to get it so that it was willing recipients as opposed to maybe nervous kids in orientation. 

[Faith Robinson, class of 2021]: The white coat ceremony to me is the beginning of a promise to myself and my communities that I'll serve in the future to serve them with respect and humility and integrity and to provide them with the best care possible. 

[Music with visual montage of students receiving their white coats] 

[Students continue reading the letters]

[Giovanni]: Best of luck in your rotations and in the next steps don't be afraid to reach out to myself or any other alumni.

[Lauren]: After all you're now part of the VTC family and I'm thrilled to be able to welcome you.

[Faith]: You're going to be great if you've made it this far and I wish you the very best for this adventure of a ride 

[Music with visual montage of students receiving their white coats] 

[Applause with visual of the class of 2021 all donning their white coats] 

White Coat Ceremony 2017
Dean Cynda Johnson and Senior Dean for Academic Affairs Richard Vari award a white coat to a member of the Class of 2021.
White Coat Ceremony 2017
Signing the school register takes place before donning the white coat.
White Coat Ceremony 2017
Kermit Zhang mugs for the camera after receiving his white coat.
White Coat Ceremony 2017
First-year student Miranda Gerrard is pinned by Associate Dean Dave Trinkle.
White Coat Ceremony 2017
Associate Dean Tarin Schmidt-Dalton pins a member of the Class of 2021.
White Coat Ceremony 2017
Students have signed the register, received the white coat, been pinned, and the only thing left is reciting of the Hippocratic Oath.
White Coat Ceremony 2017
The official Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine Register.
White Coat Ceremony 2017
Introducing the newly coated Class of 2021.