On Sunday, Aug. 5, the incoming UC Irvine School of Medicine Class of 2011 participated in a solemn rite of passage shared by previous generations of physicians. Called the White Coat Ceremony, the event underscores the importance of compassion in the doctor-patient relationship. Before family and friends, the 106 new medical students were cloaked in their first white physician’s coats, symbolizing that the desire to practice compassion lies at the heart of their chosen profession. Following the keynote address by Dr. Alberto Manetta, professor emeritus and senior consultant to the vice chancellor for health affairs, the students were called individually to the stage to receive their coats. They then recited the Oath for Doctors of Medicine, written by the UC Irvine College of Medicine Class of 1977 and used in place of the ancient Hippocratic Oath.