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MD Program Class of 2026 Celebrates White Coat Ceremony

August 8, 2022

By Lisa Ryan

The MD program class of 2026 gathered at The Academy of Music in Philadelphia on Friday, August 5, for the White Coat Ceremony, a tradition that marks students’ entry into medical school and underscores their commitment to the duties and values of the profession.

In the nationally recognized ceremony, incoming medical students don their white coats, a symbol of clinical care and compassionate service. They also recite the Physician's Pledge, the contemporary successor to the 2,500-year-old Hippocratic Oath, affirming their commitment to a physician’s responsibilities even before their coursework has begun.

The MD program's approximately 300 incoming students came together for the celebration, including the second class of medical students to attend Drexel University College of Medicine at Tower Health in West Reading, Pa.

On Friday, Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Dean and Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs Charles B. Cairns, MD welcomed the students to the College of Medicine family.

“Although we have more than 1,000 medical students across four years, and spanning academic and clinical campuses across the country, our students often tell us that Drexel doesn’t feel like a big school,” Cairns said. “You will get to know each other as both colleagues and friends, and our faculty will come to feel like part of your College of Medicine family.”

Students’ families and friends joined College of Medicine faculty members in Philadelphia and online via live-stream to celebrate this important step in the future physicians’ medical school journeys. The College’s a cappella group, Doctor’s Note, also welcomed their new classmates with a performance.

Incoming students also heard a keynote speech from James B. Reilly, MD, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for Allegheny Health Network and an associate professor in the College of Medicine.

Reilly encouraged students to strive for emotional connection rather than perfection – in their work and in general – and to advocate for the health of marginalized patients and for needed changes to health care systems. He also reminded students to prioritize respect, communication and mutual support for their peers and colleagues, even in high-stress environments.

Lastly, he reminded students to hold onto a simple message in difficult times.

“No matter how you might be made to feel some days, you belong. You belong,” Reilly said. “I know you will have doubts. You will feel like you’re not ready, like you’re not enough. Acknowledge these feelings, then choose to dive in, recognizing that your learning, your growth, the difference you will make, cannot happen in your comfort zone.”