A Rite of Passage

Future Doctors to Receive First White Coats

The white coat is one of the most visible symbols of the health care provider, and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) School of Medicine students of the Class of 2021 will take part in the White Coat Ceremony at 3 p.m. Friday (August 4) at the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center Theatre, 1501 Mac Davis Lane.

Steven L. Berk, M.D., TTUHSC executive vice president, provost and dean of the School of Medicine, said more than 100 medical schools in the United States now have a white coat ceremony, and many students consider it a rite of passage in the journey toward a health care career.

“For many students, dreams of putting on the white coat begin the day they are accepted into medical school,” Berk said. “The coat symbolizes that the years of hard work and dedication have finally paid off. The student’s white coat also symbolizes that they have been invited into the prestigious profession of medicine, a privilege which comes with great professional responsibility.”

The 180 new medical students include students from 68 different schools across the country including 34 from Texas Tech University, 19 from University of Texas Southwestern, 12 from University of Texas at Dallas, 7 from Baylor University and 7 from Brigham Young University along with graduates from Cornell University, Stanford University, Harvard University, Princeton University, Columbia University, Duke University, Georgetown University, University of Southern California and the U.S. Air Force Academy among many others.

Berk said this class is diverse and accomplished. Five students joined the Family Medicine Accelerated Track program – the most innovative program in the U.S. to train primary care physicians, 15 students will earn a joint medical and business degree with the dual M.D./MBA program and another student will work towards a dual degree of a medical and doctor of law degree with the M.D./J.D. program.

“The class average GPA is 3.75, the highest ever for our School of Medicine,” Berk said. “In the first class of the TTUHSC School of Medicine in 1974, there were 30 men and three women. This year there are 92 women and 88 men.”

The new class also includes a karate world champion representing South Africa, a captain of the Harvard women’s golf team, a B-52 deputy aircraft commander and B-52 pilot, a member of the Goin’ Band from Raiderland, a Bollywood fusion dancer, former missionaries and a ranch hand.

“This diverse class is now a part of our School of Medicine and will commit to lifelong pursuit of excellence in learning and acquiring scientific knowledge, clinical skills and capacity for compassion and recognize the need for teamwork in today’s health care system,” Berk said.

Story produced by the Office of Communications and Marketing, (806) 743-2143.