white coat ceremony.

Incoming first-year medical student Alexandra Taffany receives her white coat from Andrea T. Manyon, MD, associate dean for student affairs.

Class of 2017 Begins Medical School with White Coat Ceremony

Published August 21, 2013 This content is archived.

Story by Suzanne Kashuba

A new class of 144 University at Buffalo medical students celebrated its entry into medical school with a traditional White Coat Ceremony Aug. 16 at the UB Center for the Arts.

“You are an exceptional group of individuals. Accordingly, we have great expectations regarding your future accomplishments.”
Michael E. Cain, MD
Vice president for health sciences and dean, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences

During the ceremony, each student was presented with a white coat, symbolizing scientific excellence and compassionate care.

Symbol of Excellence, Compassion and Trust

“The white coat is a symbol of trust that one human being places in another,” said Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

“You will learn to be a detective, educator, healer, counselor, advocate and compassionate human being,” he told the students.

“We have great expectations regarding your future accomplishments, leadership and excellence in medicine, science and education,” he said, lauding the class as a whole as an exceptional group of individuals.

Keynote speaker Nicholas Silvestri, MD, assistant professor of clinical neurology, advised students to “wear your white coats with pride.”

“Focus on the patient in front of you and never forget to listen,” he said, echoing the words of one of his medical school mentors.

Led by Cain, the class recited the Oath of Medicine, vowing in part to “practice medicine with conscience and dignity.”

New Students Bring Diversity in Academic Preparation

UB’s newest medical students bring diverse talent and experience to their new roles, as David Milling, MD ’93, senior associate dean for student and academic affairs, illustrated with the following overview of the Class of 2017.

Number of applicants


Number of applicants interviewed


Number of students in class


Overall GPA


Science GPA


MCAT average score


Number of students with a master's degree


Number of students with a PhD or doctorate


Geographic distribution

12 states, including New York; Ontario, Canada

Undergraduate Majors

Most members of the Class of 2017 (68 percent) majored in science, including biology, chemistry and biochemistry.

Others majored in an array of disciplines, including exercise science, psychology, chemical engineering, languages (Spanish, Chinese, French), film and television, philosophy, history and art history.

Awards and Honors

Incoming UB medical students received numerous accolades for academic excellence, service and other accomplishments.

One was awarded a 2012 Merck Award for Scholastic Achievement.

Other students were honored with:

  • a Phi Beta Lambda Award
  • induction into Phi Beta Kappa and other honor societies
  • the highest scouting ranks of Eagle Scout/Girl Scout Gold Award
  • the Mildred Meese Award for Journalism

Research Accomplishments

Members of the Class of 2017 conducted research on various medical conditions, including Alzehimer’s disease, obesity, HIV and leukemia, as well as antidepressant drugs.

Two students co-authored research articles in scientific journals, one in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics and one in The American Journal of Human Genetics.

Service, Altruistic and Business Experiences

Members of the Class of 2017 have traveled to several nations, including Ecuador, Kenya, India and the Philippines, to assist physicians caring for underserved patients.

They have held positions related to medicine, including emergency room scribe, nurse, physical therapist technician, pharmacy technician and ophthalmologist assistant.

Several have volunteered at homeless shelters, soup kitchens and a camp for children with muscular dystrophy.

Other altruistic activities of the incoming class have included coordinating an organ and tissue donation program, building homes for Habitat for Humanity, mentoring gifted math students and interpreting for Chinese-speaking speech therapy patients.

Their talents also have been put to use in clothing and website design, financial forecasting and DJ entertainment.

Athletic and Sporting Endeavors

Athletes in the class include:

  • captain of a tennis team that won all-New Jersey state honors
  • NCAA national women’s championship track and field team qualifier
  • captain of a championship University of Chicago crew team
  • member of U.S. national swim team who competed at the World University Games
  • Division 1 football player
  • senior Tae Kwon Do instructor
  • head competitive yachting instructor

Students excelled in other sports, such as golf, alpine skiing, volleyball and wrestling.

Artistic and Creative Endeavors

Members of the incoming class with artistic backgrounds include:

  • a filmmaker who wrote and directed a short film about a couple dealing with the death of their son
  • a flutist/pianist who won a Lincoln Center chamber music competition and performed at Lincoln Center
  • a professional actress and teacher at the New York State Theater Institute
  • a medical illustrator for the University of Chicago hospital
  • a violinist/pianist who has performed with orchestras
  • a former editor-in-chief of a college newspaper.

Bone Awarded Humanism Award

During the ceremony, LTC Lawrence B. Bone, MD, professor emeritus of orthopaedics, was awarded the 2013 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award in absentia, accepted by his wife, Paula.

The 64-year-old orthopaedic surgeon is currently in Afghanistan, serving as a commander in the U.S. Army medical corps. He was inspired to serve after his son was injured during a tour of duty in Iraq.

Sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, this annual award recognizes a faculty member/physician who demonstrates outstanding compassion, clinical excellence and respect for patients, their families and health care colleagues.

Medical students nominate outstanding role models for the award.