“Getting the white coat and wearing it now makes this feel real for the first time,” shared M1 student and Prisma Health Scholarship recipient Alia Sadek, following the celebratory ceremony held this past weekend.
The University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville (UofSC SOMG) held the Class of 2025’s White Coat Ceremony on Saturday, April 2nd, in the heart of Greenville at Fluor Field at the West End. Every first-year medical student receives a white coat to recognize their entry into medicine. However, today was special for many reasons, and as Dr. Marjorie Jenkins, Dean of UofSC SOMG and Chief Academic Officer of Prisma Health, said best, “Not every medical student gets to receive their white coat in a near replica of Fenway Park.”
Family, friends, community members, and every students’ team of supporters joined together for this special day. Everyone awaited to see the M1 students meet at the mound for the ceremony and the anticipation for the donning of the white coats filled the stadium.
As the stage party led the M1 students across the home plate, there was an overwhelming presence of pride and joy as family members recorded and captured this momentous moment, students waved to their friends and family, and everyone cheered for each of the M1 students.
In addition to the many friends and family who were a part of this special day, other recognized guests made the ceremony equally memorable. Representatives from Prisma Health, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina Foundation and the Levi S. Kirkland, Sr., MD Society, the UofSC SOMG Dean’s Council, and other honorable supporters joined the day’s event. Additionally, Dr. Jonathan Gleason, Prisma Health Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer, the Keynote Speaker, Dr. Meenu Jindal, Medical Director of Internal Medicine and Sub-specialty Clinics and Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, and the Class of 2025 President, Jakara Morgan, gave inspiring and notable remarks during the ceremony.
As everyone listened intently and the wise words of each speaker filled the stadium, Dr. Gleason reminded the students and the entire audience of the value of being a part of a team.
“Know that you will not be alone in your journey. As you’ve learned already, you are not only individual physicians and providers in the medical profession, but you are also part of a greater team. Your fellow students, mentors, faculty, and your family, and friends, will all support you as you overcome challenges and celebrate success. Together, you are the thought leaders of tomorrow,” shared Dr. Gleason.
However, it was evident that this group of students was already a team and had a team of supporters joining them this day as everyone celebrated each student who crossed the stage and put their crisp white coat on for the very first time.
Students, faculty and staff, and friends and family had long awaited this day since it was postponed from the beginning of the students’ M1 year to nearly the end of their first year due to necessary health and safety precautions.
“Although we (M1 students) have been through this first year, and we know the challenges ahead of us, receiving the White Coat today has even greater meaning as we have already accomplished so much. We are reminded of our future, our promise, and our commitment to our medical education, our community, and this journey we continue to embark on,” shared Adaya Sturkey, an M1 student and Prisma Health Scholarship recipient.
As the ceremony concluded, there were happy tears of excitement, loud cheers of accomplishment, and fellowship of celebration as this year’s White Coat Ceremony was indeed a grand slam of a day!