2017 White Coat Ceremony

The members of the West Virginia University School of Medicine Class of 2019 will don the most significant symbol of their chosen profession – the white coat – for the first time. On March 18, the School of Medicine will hold its annual John W. Traubert White Coat Ceremony, during which the 100 students in the class will be presented with their white coats.

Some of our students describe what the White Coat ceremony means to them:

Jeffrey Cannon, Class of 2019

"Family matters. Being a student at WVU School of Medicine means being a part of a family. A family in which students, faculty, and staff are moving forward together—both in WV and beyond. For our WVU SoM family, the white coat ceremony takes place near the end of two exhausting years of basic sciences and marks the passage into clinical studies. We carry with us book knowledge from the library and seek to apply it as clinical skills in the community. I see the white coat as a blank slate; now I get to start painting in the clinical scenarios which will be the foundation of my medical career. We students have forged strong bonds in the study rooms, and we look forward to building each other up as competent physicians. That’s what family does. I am proud to be a Mountaineer and proud to be a part of the School of Medicine family."

Camille Leon, Class of 2019

"Traditionally, the White Coat Ceremony is viewed as the symbolic transition from the classroom to the clinical environment, but to me it means much more than that. The journey to the ceremony is long and arduous, but the dawning of the coat symbolizes that we are ready to assume the duty of caring for patients, always putting their needs ahead of our own. The honor of wearing the white coat is earned through diligence and perseverance, and along my journey, I never once doubted that it would be worth it in the end.

Personally, the white coat represents my journey in medicine coming full circle. I was born and raised in West Virginia and the doctors and patients that I encounter on a daily basis have instilled in me the virtues that have made me a better person and a better medical student. Being a physician in training in my home community allows me to give back to the people who have given me so much. The dream of becoming a practicing physician is what compels us all to enroll in medical school, and has inspired us throughout our years in the classroom. When we finally put on our white coats, our focus shifts from the classroom to the hospital, our learning continues with the patient, and our dreams become reality."

Garrett Jones, Class of 2019

"My journey to the WVU SOM was slightly unexpected for me. Most of my family is from WV, and I was actually born in Ruby Memorial Hospital while my father was in his residency at the WVU SOM. However, we moved to NC when I was 3 years old, and I never really knew what it meant to be a Mountaineer while growing up in NC. Of course, my parents and grandparents always spoke fondly of WV and my Dad is still one of the biggest WVU fans I have ever seen, but I had never really experienced the WVU culture. One of the first times that I really visited WVU was at my Medical School interview. Although I was nervous, something about WVU made me feel welcome and comfortable. After having spent the past year and a half here in Morgantown, I can't imagine being anywhere else. The camaraderie between classmates is amazing. Our Deans continually seek our input as students and make sure we are pleased with our experience. The Faculty and Staff are constantly adapting and improving our education. However, the best part about going to WVU is becoming a Mountaineer. Becoming a part of the Mountaineer family is like nothing I have ever experienced before. There is a unique connection between your Classmates, your School, your University, your Patients, your Community, and your State.

At the Oath of Integrity Ceremony that took place prior to beginning Medical School, I remember Dr. Ferrari telling us that they wait until the end of the second year of Medical School to give us our White Coats. Now that we are getting close to finishing our second year, I'm happy that they wait until now to give them to us. I now understand what an honor it is the wear the WVU SOM White Coat and the responsibility that it demands. As students, we are constantly moving forward, and there isn't much time to step back and really appreciate how blessed we are and how far we have come in our education. I believe that the White Coat Ceremony is the perfect opportunity to reflect on our journey, to share our experiences with our families, and to appreciate what it truly means to wear the WVU SOM White Coat."

Brooke Bertus, Class of 2019

"Being a student at the WVU School of Medicine is an absolute privilege. Over the course of the last two years, I have learned so much, and with that, I have gotten involved in a number of student organizations—ranging from Physicians for Human Rights to interest groups geared toward particular specialties. I have exercised my love of teaching through the PALS program, and I have been able to explore my passions for research through the INTRO program and for international health through the Global Health Track.

 At many other medical schools, they hold their white coat ceremonies before starting the first-year curriculum. However, here at WVU, we wait until the near end of our second year to receive our white coats.  When I first heard this, I was a little confused about it, but now, I completely understand why. Rather than serving as a mere intro to the program, WVU makes the receiving of our white coats into a true achievement. We have worked hard in the classroom for the last two years, and the White Coat Ceremony ultimately represents the transition into our clinical rotations. In March, when I walk across that stage and am given my white coat, I will feel a sense of accomplishment. I will feel deserving of representing the WVUSOM and ready to take the next step toward achieving my dream of becoming a physician. I am very excited to share that moment with my family and friends.

I absolutely love West Virginia University. It is more than just a great institution. Over the course of the last 6 years at this school, it has become my home. WVUSOM makes us all feel like family, and looking back, deciding to obtain my medical education here is one of the best decisions that I have ever made. Being a medical student at West Virginia University has provided me with the chance to give back to my home state, to contribute to the medical community, and to help me discover my true potential.  I have had nothing but great experiences here, and I honestly do not believe that I would have been able to indulge in so many opportunities anywhere else."