Class of 2017 shows record-breaking support
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Class of 2017 shows record-breaking support

Participation in purchase of white coats for incoming class hits an all-time high

The white coat is arguably the most familiar symbol of a physician’s identity. To mark the official start of their challenging journey to become medical professionals, first-year School of Medicine students at UMass Medical School receive their own white coats at an annual ceremony during Convocation in September.

What many may not realize is that those white coats are donated to incoming students by the class that graduated earlier that year—a symbolic “passing of the torch” to the next generation of learners.

“I remember reaching into my pocket at my White Coat Ceremony and seeing the name of the UMass Med graduate who donated my coat,” said Valerie Valant, MD’17, a member of the 2017 Class Gift Campaign Committee. “I felt like someone believed in me and had confidence I was going to succeed.”

The tradition of the outgoing class donating the coats to the incoming class began in 2010, when the first White Coat Ceremony was held at UMMS. This year, the Class of 2017 set a record for the highest participation rate in the Class Gift Campaign: 87.7 percent.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate my growth and accomplishment, and that of my class, than by helping next year’s class realize their potential,” said Dr. Valant. “It was also a very special way to kick-off a tradition of giving back, in a meaningful way, to the school that gave us so much.”

Each coat is embroidered with the student’s name, a personal touch funded by the Worcester District Medical Society Alliance.

Initiated in 1993 by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation for Humanism in Medicine at the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, the White Coat Ceremony has become a meaningful and joyous event for School of Medicine students and their families, as well as the faculty mentors.

“This event is a wonderful way to mark the transition of the next generation of students into our medical community,” said Chancellor Michael F. Collins. “The symbolism of the ceremony highlights the tremendous commitment these future physicians are making to care for their community with compassion and a deep sense of responsibility.”


2017 Class Gift Committee

Jessica Long
Nicholas Lunig
Naomi Malam
Michael Noujaim
Sara Rosenbaum
Valerie Valant

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