“Today, we are welcoming you to this noble profession.” With this stirring greeting, Kerri A. Thom, MD, MS, professor of Epidemiology & Public Health and Medicine and associate dean for Student Affairs, acknowledged the 142 members of the University of Maryland School of Medicine's (UMSOM) Class of 2025 at the opening of the school’s 25th Annual White Coat Ceremony on Friday, Aug. 6. The event was sponsored by the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company and UMSOM's Medical Family Annual Fund.
The ceremony, established in 1997, celebrates the white coat as a traditional symbol of the medical clinician and scientist — one that represents the knowledge, skill, and integrity of the medical professionals who wear it, along with the highest standards of professional work, whether in the classroom, laboratory, or clinic. The formal presentation of the white coat to UMSOM’s first-year medical students officially recognizes their entry into the profession of medicine and their new status as junior colleagues.
This year’s celebration, staged on campus at the school’s Leadership Hall, limited in-person attendance to students and faculty, with family and friends watching the ceremony via a YouTube livestream. Following remarks from several speakers, including UMSOM Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, and Paul A. Tarantino, MD ’87, president of the Medical Alumni Association, Class of 2025 students stepped onto the stage to don their white coats for the first time with the help of faculty members, and afterwards recited the Code of Honor.
In his remarks, Reece reflected on the importance of the ceremony. “Today marks a milestone in what will be a momentous lifelong journey for you,” he said. “The white coat ceremony is a rite of passage — one that symbolizes the beginning of your transition into this noble and privileged profession of medicine, However, it is much more than a mere ritual — for to those to whom great honor and privilege is given, your service, your compassion, and your high ethical standards are expected in return."