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White Coat Ceremony Begins Medical School Journey

U-M medical school welcomes its 171st class of medical students


One hundred and seventy-seven newly minted medical students were presented with crisp white coats — bearing the University of Michigan logo — and shiny stethoscopes on Saturday, July 29. The ceremony, held in Hill Auditorium, marks the official start of their medical school journey. The keynote speaker for the event is John Del Valle, M.D., A.G.A.F., F.A.C.P., professor and director of the internal medicine residency program.

During the ceremony’s “calling of the class,” students came up on stage, announced their hometowns and undergraduate institutions, and were then presented with short white coats — a symbol of their future profession, emphasizing the trust, humanity, and responsibility that comes with becoming a physician.

Marschall S. Runge (link is external), M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for medical affairs and dean of the medical school, noted that “This is an incredible time to be entering medicine and to begin your medical training and education. Medicine is changing rapidly, and the advances that will be possible in your careers will be amazing.”

Class selected from record number of applications

The class was selected from a pool of nearly 7,000 applicants, according to Steven Gay (link is external), M.D., M.S, assistant dean for admissions for the medical school, the highest number of applications the school has ever seen.

The diverse class is 54 percent female and 19 percent from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in medicine. The majority come to medical school after gaining experiences beyond college.

“As our educational programs continue to evolve, this incoming class is truly remarkable for their potential to become leaders and change agents in health and science,” says Rajesh Mangrulkar, M.D., associate dean for medical student education. “This is the vision we have set for the new curriculum.”

The incoming class will be immersed in the clinical care world of Michigan Medicine from the beginning. They’ll develop an understanding of the immense importance of teamwork while they engage in inter-professional education experiences with students enrolled in U-M’s other health professions schools. In addition, as the first class with a capstone project graduation requirement, they will receive enhanced training in leadership and have the opportunity to demonstrate their impact in medicine through one of eight scholarly concentrations, called Paths of Excellence.

Read one incoming medical student’s story about working alongside her U-M heart doctor dad.

For more about the curriculum, visit  (link is external) (link is external).

More facts about this year’s incoming class:

  • 70 of the 177 students starting medical school at U-M this month come from Michigan, with the rest coming from 26 other states.
  • 52 of them attended U-M as undergraduates, with the rest graduating from 13 other Michigan institutions and 48 out-of-state institutions.
  • Students come from many different fields, including the biological and non-biological sciences, social sciences, humanities, the arts and engineering. In particular, over 10% of this incoming class is made up of engineers.
  • 11 students will pursue a combined M.D./ Ph.D. degree through the Medical Scientist Training Program. Additionally, three students who already hold dental degrees will train in oral & maxillofacial surgery. A growing number of students are choosing to pursue a second Master’s degree at other schools, through any one of the eight dual-degree programs open to medical students, with the list of options continuing to grow.
  • The students range in age from 21 to 37, with the average at 24.1 years.

To see the full 2017 entering class profile, visit

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