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Symbolic ceremony caps excitement of medical school admission at IU School of Medicine


INDIANAPOLIS — Members of the largest entering class in the 111-year history of the Indiana University School of Medicine will begin their medical training this month at the nine medical education campuses across the state. On Aug. 10, the 344 first-year medical students will gather for a time-honored ceremony marking the beginning of their journey as physicians and medical researchers.

The White Coat Ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. at the Indiana Convention Center, Hall F. More than 1,800 family members and friends will be in attendance.

David S. Wilkes, M.D., executive associate dean for research affairs, will set the stage with an address that goes to the heart of the vocation: “Professionalism in Medicine: Providing Comfort to Patients.” Then each student’s name is called, and they pass across a stage where an IU School of Medicine faculty member will help them don their first traditional doctor’s coat.

Four members of the class of 2017 will be assisted with the robing ceremony by their parent, who also is a faculty physician at the IU School of Medicine. They are Dr. Dewey Conces and daughter Madison Conces; Dr. Dean Hawley and son Eric Hawley; Dr. Nabil Shabeeb and daughter Nadine Shabeeb; and Dr. Robert Weller and daughter Jennifer Potter.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, the students will recite in unison a physician’s pledge whose origins are attributed to the Greek physician Hippocrates.

The IU School of Medicine is the nation’s second largest medical school, with students taught on regional campuses in Bloomington, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Gary, Indianapolis, Lafayette, Muncie, South Bend and Terre Haute. The increase in class size is in response to an Association of American Medical Colleges report nearly 10 years ago that predicted a serious shortage of physicians by 2020. Since 2006, the IU School of Medicine has increased first-year enrollment by nearly 20 percent.