New Medical Students to Receive First Doctor’s White Coats

FAU's Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine will celebrate its fifth White Coat Ceremony as it officially welcomes the incoming class of 2015 on Friday, Aug. 7 at 4 p.m.

The Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University will celebrate its fifth White Coat Ceremony as it officially welcomes the incoming class of 2015 on Friday, Aug. 7 at 4 p.m., at the Barry and Florence Friedberg Lifelong Learning Auditorium, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.

The 64 members of the incoming class of 2015 were selected among 4,372 applicants who wanted to attend FAU’s College of Medicine. The youngest member, Savannah Warner, who just turned 20, was dual-enrolled at FAU High School and FAU, and received both her high school and college diplomas in December 2014.  The oldest member, Adam Ferrone, is a 35-year-old veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

The incoming class will receive their first doctor’s white coats at the White Coat Ceremony to mark their entry into the profession of medicine. Members of the class of 2014 have been paired with students in the incoming class to serve as mentors to the newly minted medical students. Each student will be pinned with a “Humanism in Medicine” lapel pin by his/her mentor during the ceremony. At the conclusion of the event, the students will recite in unison an “oath” they have collectively written, which will serve as a code of conduct they are committed to following throughout their education and as physicians after medical school. 

“The white coat has been the pre-eminent symbol of physicians for more than 100 years,” said David J. Bjorkman, M.D., M.S.P.H., dean and executive director of medical affairs for FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine. “As we cloak our newest students with their very first white coats in the presence of their families, faculty and colleagues, it will impress upon them the magnitude of the responsibility they are undertaking as they begin their life-long journey in medicine.” 

The event program will include a keynote address titled “Pithy Pearls for Physicians,” which will be delivered by Joseph Z. Forstot, M.D., a rheumatologist and affiliate faculty in FAU’s College of Medicine.  Stuart L. Markowitz, M.D., senior associate dean for student affairs and admissions in FAU’s Charles E. College of Medicine, will serve as the master of ceremonies.

The Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine’s incoming class comes from all walks of life with unique backgrounds. Two of the class members attended the Medical Scholars Program at FAU’s Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College. The Medical Scholars Program is targeted toward academically talented high school students who are assured a spot in FAU’s College of Medicine if they complete all requirements.

The incoming class has a cumulative GPA of 3.7 and an average MCAT score of 33, which is above the national average. Most of the major colleges in Florida are represented – including five from FAU. Other students in the class attended undergraduate institutions such as Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Stanford University, Vanderbilt University, Notre Dame University, among others.  

Approximately 7 percent of the class is Hispanic; 12 percent is Asian; and 6 percent is African-American. Although most of the class members majored in traditional pre-med subjects, the class also is made up of students who have non-science majors. Approximately 75 percent of the incoming class are Florida residents.   

The White Coat Ceremony was founded in 1993 by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. The Foundation concluded that the beginning of a student’s journey into medicine is the best time to influence standards of professionalism, humanistic values and behavior.

FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine is one of 144 medical schools in the country. The college was launched in 2010, when the Florida Board of Governors made a landmark decision authorizing FAU to award the M.D. degree. After receiving approval from the Florida legislature and the governor, it became the 134th allopathic medical school in North America.