John W. Traubert White Coat Ceremony

White Coat Traditions at the WVU School of Medicine

Ceremony Details

  • Date: Saturday, March 9, 2024
  • Time: 1 p.m.
  • Location: WVU Canady Creative Arts Center

Get Involved

Our School of Medicine MD alumni and current faculty have a unique opportunity to directly affect and leave a positive lasting impression on a future physician. By sponsoring a white coat you have an opportunity to leave a note of encouragement and impart valuable wisdom that the student can take into the clinic with them as they begin caring for patients.

Ceremony is also sponsored in part by WVUMedicine

Alumni and faculty can sponsor a student online

You can visit the WVU Foundation site below and fill out your information online. In the "comments" box you're able to write the content of the note you wish to give the student.

Sponsor a student


Contact the WVU School of Medicine Alumni Office at (304) 293-5110.

A note from the President

Please join us when we celebrate this special group of students as they move into their clinical training. Donning their first white coats symbolizes their commitment to serving humanity with empathy for the rest of their lives.

Your gift of sponsorship and personal note of encouragement will be placed in a student’s white coat pocket. This is a great way to share in the mission of the School of Medicine and prepare WVU Docs for the future. My wife, Dr. Amy Yester, and I each sponsor a coat every year as we remember how important this ceremony was to us and to our families to witness the symbol of the white coat being put on for the first time.

Marc Yester, M.D.

Class of 2006

President, WVU School of Medicine Alumni Association

Marc Yester speaks at podium during White Coat Ceremony

Ceremony history

WVU’s White Coat Ceremony, strategically positioned in the second year of training, is designed to:

  • help students reaffirm their reasons for choosing medicine as their lives’ work
  • allow students to express their commitment to becoming technically excellent and professionally compassionate with patients
  • reinforce the importance of the doctor-patient relationship and the relevance of the white coat as a “cloak of compassion” 


  • August 20, 1993 -- The White Coat Ceremony was developed by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation of New York, and was initiated for the entering class of the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Columbia University. The original concept was to clarify for students, prior to their entrance into the medical community, that a physician’s responsibility is twofold; to take care of patients and to care for patients.
  • January 26, 1996 -- WVU's first ceremony was held, and it deferred from the original concept. It honored second-year students and marked the transition from the basic sciences to clinical sciences, from reading about illness and disease to diagnosing it; from learning about treatments to prescribing them. However, with changes in medical education, that transition point is becoming less defined. Patient contact coming early on in training, meshing with the obvious importance and relevance of the basic sciences, broadens the concept of WVU’s ceremony and more clearly defines its purpose.
  • 1999 -- upon retirement of Dean of Students, John W. Traubert, the ceremony was named in his honor.

Past ceremony coverage

Video of the 2023 White Coat Ceremony

Article: Graduates recall their white coat experiences and why they give