White Coat Ceremony Marks Start of Medical School at UCSF

The UCSF School of Medicine’s Class of 2016 participated in the annual rite of passage for physicians: donning white coats, the official start of their medical training.

During the Sept. 7 White Coat Ceremony before family, friends and fellow classmates at UCSF, the first-year students took a vow to maintain professional attitudes and behaviors in work and in relationships with their peers, teachers, patients and the community.

Sam Hawgood, MBBS, dean of the UCSF School of Medicine and vice chancellor for medical affairs, welcomed the students to the top-ranked medical school.

"We want you to have fun during your training," he said. "We also expect you to work harder and smarter than you've perhaps ever imagined. We ask you to open your minds to everything we can teach you.

"In return for all this hard work, we commit to prepare you to face the many challenges you will encounter as a physician with courage, confidence, skill and humanity. You will have the joy of working with outstanding teachers and the fun of using some of the best resources educational science and technology has to offer."

A multi-talented bunch, this year’s entering medical students represent 16 countries of birth, ranging from Australia to Zimbabwe. They also:

  • Play the drums, violin, viola, piano, clarinet, flute, saxophone, bass, guitar, ukulele, oud, pipa, banjo, and harpsichord.
  • Dance ballet, jazz, tap, ballroom, salsa, and hip hop.

  • Perform either by acting, singing in musical theater, cracking jokes as stand-up comedians, and practice a number of different types of martial arts (kung fu, muy thai, bujinkan budo taijutsu, and karate).

  • Play soccer, water polo, crew, fencing, track and field, ultimate Frisbee, tennis, football, table tennis, hockey, lacrosse, field hockey, figure skating, and squash.

And they have wide-ranging work experiences as former Peace Corps members, Teach for America teachers, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute interns.

Prior to being admitted to medical school, they served as mentors, teachers, volunteer firefighters, EMTs, scribes, navy pilots, river rafting guides, cake decorators, and vineyard workers.