Dear Colleagues-Friends,

Last week we welcomed 184 new colleagues into the School of Medicine, including a professional poker player, an emergency medicine scribe, a former high school science teacher, a part-time school bus driver, an amateur beekeeper and a student who has hiked active volcanoes. (You can learn more interesting facts about this multitalented class here.)

Orientation week culminated in the White Coat Ceremony on Friday where hundreds of family and friends gathered to watch our new medical students embark on what we know will be one of the most challenging and rewarding journeys of their lives. (Click here to see photos from the event.)

“Receiving your white coat – it’s a symbol of your entrance into the profession,” Dr. Clifford L. Deal III, MS95, M00, H05, president-elect of the Medical Society of Virginia, told the incoming class during his keynote speech. “It’s a gift, an advancement of trust from the profession to you.  A standard to be upheld. A standard against which you will measure your every act of care to the patients who will trust you implicitly because you wear the white coat.”

Trust is at the heart of everything we do, both as clinicians and as educators, and it is up to us to lead our lives and practice our art with “uprightness and honor,” to paraphrase the Hippocratic Oath. So although our white coats might a little more worn than they were the day we first put them on, they remain a beacon of hope to those in our care and those who look to us as professional role models and mentors.

We are grateful to Cliff Deal for his inspirational speech and for giving us “gems of wisdom” from his experiences at our school. They are as true today as they were in his medical school days.

For our impressive group of new students, the hard and dedicated work – and the fulfillment it brings – has only just begun, and we should stand ready as faculty and staff to help guide them to realizing their full potential as great doctors.

Please join me in welcoming the Class of 2023 to the VCU School of Medicine community, and thank you for the role you will play in their individual and collective success.

With all good wishes,

Peter F. Buckley, M.D.
Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System