VT honors Class of 2024 medical students with White Coat Ceremony

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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) – One of the immediate highlights in a medical student’s academic career is to take part in a ceremony known as a White Coat Ceremony.

The ceremony was held last Friday at the Jefferson Center’s Shaftman Auditorium.

In order to have the ceremony in-person, public health guidelines were followed as all attendees wore a mask or face covering.

Typically, the ceremony draws a large crowd of family and friends but this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, guests were extremely limited to only a loved one who lives with the student. A live stream was offered for other friends, family, faculty and community members to watch off-site.

Dean Lee Learman helps Brandon Ganjineh into his new white coat. (Image courtesy of Virginia Tech).

Still, the ceremony had a celebratory feel by recognizing each student’s hard work to get into medical school and complete the first block of study.

“The purpose of the ceremony is to clarify for our students that a physician’s responsibility is to both take care OF patients and to care FOR patients.”

Aubrey Knight, Senior Dean for Student Affairs

Lisa Uherick, the Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Medical Director of the Pediatric Emergency Department at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, was the keynote speaker. She gave each student a stone to remind them that bumps and friction along their journey will help shape them into polished physicians.

“You were born with inherent value. As medical school and life tumble and rub you, don’t be discouraged. You are simply learning to shine!”

Lisa Uhrick, Keynote Speaker

After each student walked onto the stage and donned their new, freshly pressed white coat, there were a couple of surprises including friends and family of the students who sent in brief videos to celebrate and congratulate their student and classmates that were played near the conclusion of the ceremony. Loved ones also sent in letters that each student opened and read, allowing those who could not be present in-person, to be a part of the ceremony in some way.

View a special gallery of images from the ceremony below, courtesy of Virginia Tech.

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