Med students receive white coats, begin class
Published: Monday, August 3, 2009
Updated: Wednesday, August 5, 2009 12:08
Forty-one lucky students started their education as the first students in UCF's College of Medicine Monday.
In a ceremony led by Dr. Deborah German, dean of the College of Medicine, UCF's newest class of students received their white doctor's coats.
"This is the moment we've all been waiting for," German said to a room full of community supporters who came to celebrate the beginning of UCF College of Medicine.
The class of 41 students is comprised of 22 women and 19 men from several different countries and states.
Each student received a traditional white doctor's coat from each of the donors to the medical school's scholarship fund. German said the coat is a "symbol of our profession, the symbol of the good doctor."
Part of the ceremony included a lesson taught to the 41 students by German, where they all listed qualities they think a good doctor should have.
"We fully expect that each one of you become this doctor," she told the students.
The opening of the medical school comes after years of preparation from UCF.
President John Hitt first presented the medical school testimony to the Board of Governors in 2004, later receiving their approval in March 2006.
With the creation of the medical school, German was appointed as the inaugural dean and began her work in December 2006.
It was in June 2007 that UCF initiated the first program of its kind – each student admitted would receive a full scholarship- including four years of tuition and living expenses. The project cost approximately $7 million - $160,000 for each student - and required the support of the community. All of the funding for scholarships were obtained by April 2008.
The inaugural class of students includes eight students who completed their undergraduate degrees at UCF. Also from Florida schools were students from the University of South Florida, the University of Miami, Florida Atlantic University, Florida International University, Florida State University, the University of North Florida and the University of Florida.
Schools students completed undergraduate degrees from out of state included Rutgers, Georgia Institute of Technology, Dartmouth College, Temple University, Louisiana State University, Washington and Lee University, University of California- Berkley, Ohio State University, East Carolina University, John Hopkins University, Rice, and Bucknell University.
Uchechi Anumudu, who completed her undergraduate degree at East Carolina University, is one of the 41 lucky students.
She said UCF gave her all the things she looked for in a medical school. After applying to 13 schools and being interviewed by eight, she said she knew UCF was the right place for her.
"I was so surprised when I got the call," she said.
It was her last interview and one of her "dream" schools.
According to UCF News and Information, The College of Medicine is the most selective medical school in the country, with 4,307 applicants for only 41 available spots.
The inaugural class has the highest Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) average in the state, with a mean score of 32.2 and the highest grade point average (GPA), 3.8, for state medical schools.
It set a record for the most applications received by a Florida public university.
Aura Fuentes, who completed her undergraduate degree at Florida International University, is also in the charter class.
She said she came to UCF because she wanted to be part of something bigger. She said its part of a new beginning for her.
The first class of students will complete their first year of classes on the UCF main campus, while the Lake Nona medical city is completed.
German said it will be a good transition for the students, because it will make them feel like a part of the UCF family.
Dr. Cecil Wilson, the president of the American Medical Association, attended the white coat ceremony as well.
He said the new medical school and the charter class are encouraging because there aren't enough doctors.
He said that although the first class is small, it's a good amount to start with.
Ramon Ojeda, president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for Metro Orlando, said the chamber advocated for the medical school.
"Education is critical for the success of the community," he said. "It's just the right thing to do."
The ceremony ended with German giving words of encouragement to the new class of UCF students, and finally a class photo.