Skip to main content

27th Annual White Coat Ceremony Welcomes Class of 2027

August 28, 2023 | Lauren Wright

Dean Gladwin speaking at the White Coat CeremonyMembers of the Class of 2027 Receive Their First White Coat

On August 4, 2023, the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Class of 2027 received their white coats for the first time, while faculty, family and friends joined students in celebration of the White Coat Ceremony tradition.

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.

UMSOM Dean Mark T. Gladwin, MD, Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, Baltimore, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor, delivered a compelling and memorable address, acknowledging the current generational challenges each medical student will face as they enter the profession.

Watch the 27th Annual White Coat Ceremony Video

“Ebola, avian influenza, SarsCoV2 (which caused the Covid 19 pandemic), and monkey or M pox make it absolutely clear that we live in a warming, highly connected world of emerging pathogens,” he said. “In addition to these so-called zoonotic infections, we have the rapid emergence of antibiotic resistance. You will be the physicians and scientists at the front lines to confront these challenges at the scientific bench and the bedside, in direct care and policy.”

Before concluding his direct address to the students, Dean Gladwin offered a final piece of advice. “Embrace your own vulnerability and humanity, lean on each other and your faculty mentors, and remember that sometimes all we have is our humanism and our best attempts to provide comfort.”

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to get to know the students in the Class of 2027 and we are ready to educate, mentor, guide, support, and serve them throughout their medical school journey,” said Kerri A. Thom, MD, MS, Professor of Epidemiology & Public Health and Medicine and Associate Dean for Student Affairs, as she acknowledged the 151 members of the class. Today’s ceremony is a time of celebration in which we will recognize the hard work and accomplishments that have led to this moment.”

Following remarks from several speakers, including Dean Gladwin and Medical Alumni Association President Harry A. Oken, MD, ’83, Class of 2027 students were each called to the stage where faculty members were waiting to ceremoniously help them into their white coats for the first time. Before leaving the stage, each student received a stethoscope donated by an alumnus of the Medical Alumni Association.

Among those present was Sarah Burney, MD/MBA Candidate, Class of 2028.

“I hope to use the next four years to build a strong foundational knowledge of medicine through meaningful clinical experiences and interactions with the local West Baltimore community. I am most looking forward to experiencing patient interactions as an active participant through UMSOM’s hands-on curriculum.”

For first-year medical student, Jason Eaton, the journey to medical school was not only an affirming experience but a liberating personal experience as well. “I was first drawn to medicine through my own experience navigating medical transition after I came out at 14 years old,” he said.

“My life was transformed by the support and care my doctors offered me—I completely blossomed and came out of my shell. I realized that if I pursued a career in medicine myself, I could foster similar transformational relationships with patients.”

Kyle Gunzy, MD candidate, Class of 2027, credits a transformative international trip with developing her passion for helping others. “During my sophomore year of high school, I had the opportunity to volunteer on a medical mission trip to El Salvador which initially sparked my interest in medicine,” she said.

“I fell in love with the fact that practicing medicine requires you to be a lifelong learner and allows you to build meaningful relationships with patients.” 

For first-year medical student, Adedayo Olaniran, his passion for medicine was ignited during his childhood in Nigeria after witnessing his sister’s medical emergency. “My passion for medicine was ignited in my childhood in Nigeria after a medical emergency involving my sister,” he said. “My desire to continue pursuing a career in medicine was further molded by working as a patient advocate once I relocated to United States in 2016.”

“The white coat ceremony signifies the privilege given to me to serve and the culmination of all the work I have put in over the years to enter the medical profession.”

This year’s event was sponsored by the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company. The event was also supported by the contributions of medical student families to the Medical Family Annual Fund.

White Coat Ceremony 2023 Gallery

Click on the image above to view the gallery >


Lauren Wright
Public Affairs/Community Health Specialist
Managing Editor, SOM News
Office of Public Affairs & Communications
University of Maryland School of Medicine
Office: 410.706.7508