University of South Florida

The golden standard class receives first white coats on golden anniversary


The 177 medical students of the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine Class of 2025 completed their first right of passage at their White Coat Ceremony — putting on their first white coats and taking the Oath of Commitment. The Sept. 2 event also officially marks the beginning of their medical school journey.

The ceremony was more momentous as two members of MCOM’s 1971 charter class celebrated with friends and family of the medical students.  To recognize their achievement, Charles Lockwood, MD, MHCM, MCOM dean and USF Health senior vice president, and Matthew Nguyen, fourth-year medical student, presented 1971 classmates Drs. John Hellrung and Stephen Vernon, with white coats signed by the Class of 2025, the 50th class for the medical school.

Drs. Stephen Vernon and John Hellrung (center), alumni of the first ever class at the Morsani College of Medicine, received a signed white coat from the class of 2025. Also pictured (left to right): Dr. Bryan Bognar, MCOM vice dean of the Department of Medical Education; Dr. Charles J Lockwood, USF Health senior vice president and MCOM dean; Dr. Jane Messina, chair of the MCOM Alumni Board; Matthew Nguyen, MCOM fourth-year medical student.

Over the past several years, each of MCOM’s incoming classes have outperformed previous classes.  The class of 2025 became the gold standard for the school shattering nearly all MCOM records.  The group has been heralded as the most diverse and academically competitive first-year class in school’s history.  The group boasts a school record 3.83 average GPA, and a 517 median MCAT score, placing them in the 94th percentile across the country.   A record 20% of the students come from traditionally underrepresented in medicine (URM), a tremendous increase from 6% seven years ago.

“I have long said that USF Health is bringing the best and brightest minds to Tampa Bay, and this record-breaking class is further evidence of the growing strength and reputation of the Morsani College of Medicine,” Dr. Lockwood said.  “Not only is this the highest achieving cohort in our history, but it is also the most diverse and we cannot wait to see all that they will achieve in medical school and beyond.”

More  images from the ceremony.

Photos and video by Fredrick J. Coleman, USF Health Communications and Marketing

Matthew Nguyen, MCOM fourth-year medical student, selected to speak to the incoming class, shared personal stories of what the white coat has meant to him and what he’s learned throughout his medical school journey.



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