Editor's Note: A previous version of this article inaccurately identified the UCF College of Medicine's class of 2019 as the first group of medical school students to be offered full four-year scholarships. The inaugural class of 2013, which started at UCF in 2009, was the first group of students to be awarded the first full four-year scholarships.
The UCF College of Medicine's class of 2019 was handed their white coats on Monday at the annual White Coat Ceremony.
From 10 a.m. to noon in the Student Union's Pegasus Ballroom, students and parents filled the room and took their seats for the ceremony.
President John C. Hitt explained how UCF prides itself in tradition and excellence, and challenged students to be the best they can be because, as he said, "now it's your time."
The newest generation of medical students consists of great diversity. Among the 120 students — ranging in backgrounds from as far as Vietnam to right here in Orlando — 30 different languages are spoken, in addition to English. Four medical students are currently veterans of the United States military, with some having served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Dr. Deborah German, the founding dean of the College of Medicine, added to the ceremony as she questioned students on words that describe characteristics of a "good doctor." Words such as compassionate, wise and knowledgeable were shared around the room, and German said students need to be bold with their dreams.
"You can't be just one of those words, and you wouldn't want to be," German said. "We want our students to become all of them."
Students donned their white coats as symbols of the privilege and responsibility that comes with being a "good doctor."
"I feel like I finally have the freedom to pursue what I've been working toward for so long," said new first-year medical student Lindsey Warner. "I am finally here." Warner said she felt that the ceremony solidified her start to medical school.
Colby Skinner, another new first-year medical student, said the ceremony felt more real than what he could describe.
Alahna Kindred is a Contributing Writer for the Central Florida Future.