SOM Class of 2023 Marks Medical School Milestone: The White Coat Ceremony
The largest class of medical students in the history of New York Medical College (NYMC)—the School of Medicine (SOM) Class of 2023—celebrated its White Coat Ceremony on October 28, at the Performing Arts Center in Purchase, New York.
More than 1,000 guests watched as 217 first-year medical students processed into the auditorium and onto the stage—thus began the right-of-passage ceremony, considered the symbolic beginning of the four-year journey of medical school and entry into the medical profession.
Jane M. Ponterio, M.D. ’81, SOM senior associate dean for student affairs and assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, who served as master of ceremony, led the event that included a welcome address by Edward C. Halperin, M.D., M.A., chancellor and chief executive officer. Dr. Halperin gave a moving talk to the Class of 2023, encouraging them to believe they have the power to make a positive impact by taking action in their calling of diagnosing, treating, comforting and supporting.
Student remarks were presented by Jennifer Lindelof, SOM Class of 2020, two-term president of the Student Senate and a member of the Gold Humanism Honor Society. “I want you to remember to enjoy this day and all the people here to support you. You are about to put on those white coats for the first time and it will feel different, because it is different. The white coat is a powerful and empowering symbol of the medical profession that will be passed onto you today,” she said. “Embrace the responsibility not only to your patients and your education, but also the responsibility to yourself and your classmates. This is an incredibly daunting undertaking, but I promise with the help of your people, the people in this very room, you will get there and it will be so worth it.”
Jerry L. Nadler, M.D., MACP, FAHA, FACE, dean of the School of Medicine, introduced the White Coat keynote speaker, William H. Frishman, M.D., chair emeritus of the Department of Medicine and professor of medicine, who addressed the future physicians. “Medicine as a profession is a calling. Each of you individually has been called on by the Almighty to take care of the sick, to prevent disease and to be an advocate for our patients and humankind at all times. Wearing the white coat symbolizes for each of you a lifetime commitment to the health profession,” he said. “You must honor the white coat.”