The White Coat Ceremony: 110 Students Mark the Beginning of Medical School

Aug. 12, 2022

A joyous celebration was held in the Larry and Cindy Bloch Alumni and Advancement Center Friday, August 12. The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry class of 2026, made up of 110 medical students, received their white coats during the traditional ceremony that marks the beginning of medical school for these future doctors. The 17th annual Robert L. & Lillian H. Brent White Coat Ceremony was captured by University of Rochester photographer J. Adam Fenster.

2022-08-12_White_Coat_ceremony_0033_ Medical students gather before the ceremony.
Medical students react as they file into the auditorium.

Medical Center and University leadership look on as medical students file into the auditorium.


“I still remember the excitement [of receiving] my white coat. Which really told me for the first time, okay, you’re going to be a doctor, but I think it is more than that,” said School of Medicine and Dentistry Dean Mark Taubman, M.D., “Your responsibilities and obligations of being a physician are not only a fundamental part of the school, but also the foundation of the profession of medicine.”

University of Rochester President Sarah Mangelsdorf told the class of 2026, “The School of Medicine and Dentistry is an integral part of the lifeblood of the University of Rochester. And throughout your studies, you’ll see how. You’ll find innovative and groundbreaking teaching, research, and healing taking place across the University – from the Eastman School of Music to our Institute of Optics. It’s a unique collaborative environment that’ll help prepare you in thrilling and unexpected ways for the many advances coming in medicine and medical scholarship in the decades to come. I hope you’ll embrace the University’s Meliora spirit – a culture of striving to be ever better. “


Fourth year medical student Tresne Hernandez ‘24 offered words of advice to the incoming class during the student address. “I hope you find ways to embrace learning, anchor yourself in the importance and meaning of relationships, and remember that you are a contribution to this world.”


During the key note address, Assistant Professor of Surgery Michael Nabozny ‘11M (M.D.), shared how becoming a doctor has changed him and how he has learned to navigate some of that change. “This ability to treat patients effectively, to overcome a life-threatening illness, at the same time preparing patients and their families for the possibility that medicine isn’t all powerful is crucial,” said Nabozny. “Starting with a small comment about what to do if the worst-case scenario occurs and then decreasing and increasing the discussion related to this has been my approach, mostly in a crescendo and decrescendo fashion.”

Mackenzie Hulme receives a coat from Dr. Erik Rueckmann.

London Smith receives a coat from Dr. Cheryl Kodjo.

Nikhil Bamarajpet receives a coat from Dr. David Kaufman.


2026 Class Facts:

110 Students; Average age: 24
  • 49 Women
  • 54 Men
  • 7 Nonbinary

From 26 states; 17 born outside U.S.

Know 34 languages, including ASL


Class of 2026 recites their code of conduct after receiving their coats.

Class of 2026 poses for a photo after the ceremony.