UCI School of Medicine holds its White Coat Ceremony, where first year med students receive their traditional white coats, at Chapman University.
The UCI School of Medicine class of 2027 recites the medical student oath, pledging to uphold the highest standards of healthcare, during the White Coat Ceremony on Aug. 4. Steve Zylius / UCI

Members of the UCI School of Medicine class of 2027 officially began their journey to becoming physicians on the evening of Friday, Aug. 4, when they donned their first doctor’s white coat, universally recognized as a symbol of their commitment to healing.

The 114 students received enthusiastic cheers and energetic applause from a crowd of more than 350 relatives, friends, loved ones and other well-wishers at UCI’s annual White Coat Ceremony. This year’s event was held at Chapman University’s Memorial Hall, because UCI’s usual venues for large gatherings are part of the more than 2 million square feet of active construction and remodeling on campus.

During the solemn yet celebratory rite of passage, the doctors-to-be also recited the medical student oath and received a pin from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation signifying the importance of compassion and empathy in patient care. But as they enacted these time-honored traditions, they were reminded to be forward-thinking.

“For the students here today, you are the newest generation of physicians, and you are the future of medicine,” said Dr. Michael J. Stamos, dean of the School of Medicine. “You will be called on to embrace evidence-based integrative health and transcend current boundaries through the creation of clinical programs that predict and prevent disease, personalize care during illness, and improve the health of populations.”

The ceremony is a component of an orientation process that ends with the start of classes on Aug. 15 and also marks the beginning of lifelong friendships and deep connections among the students.

“This means a lot to me and my family,” said Ellee Pisey Vikram, a first-generation college student from Long Beach, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at UCLA and plans to become a dermatologist. “We’ve collectively worked for this. I would not be the person I am without them. It’s a big day, after a long journey.”

Murietta native Elijah Sosa, who earned a bachelor’s degree in global health at UC San Diego, intends to become either a psychiatrist or a family medicine doctor. “This day represents all the hard work we did as undergraduates,” he said. “Tonight means we’re getting to be what we want to be. We’re finally on our way to being a doctor.”

If you want to learn more about supporting this or other activities at UCI, please visit the Brilliant Future website at https://brilliantfuture.uci.edu. Publicly launched on Oct. 4, 2019, the Brilliant Future campaign aims to raise awareness and support for UCI. By engaging 75,000 alumni and garnering $2 billion in philanthropic investment, UCI seeks to reach new heights of excellence in student success, health and wellness, research and more. The School of Medicine plays a vital role in the success of the campaign. Learn more by visiting https://brilliantfuture.uci.edu/uci-school-of-medicine.