July 27, 2019

Future doctors start their journey at annual White Coat ceremony

Medical School welcomes 177 new learners that comprise its 173rd class of medical students

University of Michigan White Coat Ceremomy

The excitement was contagious as 177 aspiring physicians were given three items that marked their upcoming journeys through the University of Michigan Medical School: a white coat, a stethoscope, and a reflex hammer. 

The ceremony was held on July 27 in Hill Auditorium, and officially marked the beginning of their lives as medical students and future doctors. The students selected keynote speaker Sarah Hartley, M.D., who is a prominent educator in the medical education program and associate director for the internal medicine residency program at the medical school. She is also a hospitalist at Michigan Medicine. 

Per tradition, the ceremony’s “calling of the class” included students walking onto stage to announce their hometowns and alma maters. Afterwards, they were each presented with their own white coat, which commemorates the entry into their future profession, and emphasizes the importance of honor, accountability and the trust patients will place in them as they embrace their new roles as aspiring doctors. 

This year’s outstanding class is 60 percent female and 40 percent male, with over 40 percent hailing from the state of Michigan. An astounding 7,896 individuals applied to be a part of this year’s class, with just over 500 applicants interviewing on campus and 177 ultimately securing a seat.

“We are very proud of this incoming class, and so thrilled to welcome them to our community here at Michigan,” said Rajesh S. Mangrulkar, M.D., the Marguerite S. Roll Professor of Medical Education and associate dean for medical student education. “Their achievements have already demonstrated their great potential as future leaders in the medical profession, but their character and kindness are what will carry them forward as impactful physicians for their future patients.” 

The incoming first-year students will hit the ground running. They will be immersed in the mature new curriculum, as they work to understand the science of human health and illness in the clinical setting. They will also build their skills as critical thinkers and collaborative future leaders when they work with other students enrolled in U-M’s various health professional schools. 

Mangrulkar adds, “This ceremony is always a memorable event, celebrated with our new students, the UMMS faculty and loved ones. We remember on this day that our hard work is for our patients, families and communities that we all serve.” 

Some notable facts about this year’s incoming class:

  • 73 of the 177 students starting medical school at U-M this month come from Michigan, with the rest coming from 28 other states.
  • 56 of them attended U-M as undergraduates, with the rest graduating from other Michigan institutions and 48 out-of-state institutions.
  • Students come from many different fields, including the biological and non-biological sciences, social sciences, humanities, the arts and engineering.
  • 40 students entered the medical school with degrees in a double major.
  • 11 students will pursue a combined M.D./Ph.D. degree through the Medical Scientist Training Program. Additionally, three students who already hold dental degrees will train in oral & maxillofacial surgery.
  • The average student age this year is 24.6 years.

To see the full 2019 entering class profile, please visit: