Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine’s 11th class moved one giant step closer to becoming physicians during today’s White Coat Ceremony.

White Coat Ceremony launches medical school journey for OUWB Class of 2025
White Coat Class of 2025
Pavan Brahmamdam, M.D., (right) helps Austin Kantola into his white coat. Kantola is one of the Class of 2025 who will be mentored by Brahmamdam during the next four years through OUWB's PRISM program.

Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine’s 11th class moved one giant step closer to becoming physicians at today’s White Coat Ceremony.

The event capped off a weeklong orientation for the class, and was held on the campus of Oakland University and livestreamed. The 125 members of the matriculating class formally received their physician white coats.

The traditional ceremony emphasizes the value of humanism as the core of health care, and stresses the importance of compassion and scientific excellence alike.

The class also recites the Oath of Geneva — the declaration of physicians' dedication to the humanitarian goals of medicine — in front of family members, school leadership, and peers.

Duane Mezwa, M.D., Stephan Sharf Dean, OUWB, welcomed the students and addressed the significance of each beginning their respective medical school journey at OUWB.

“We chose and invited you above all the others to be here,” he said. “You had a combination of qualities, but most of all, you had the compassion that indicated you belong here, immersed in the OUWB culture.”

White Coat 2025 InfographicWhite Coat 2025 InfographicOUWB’s Class of 2025 consists of 125 students chosen from 498 interviews. The school received 8,152 applications, up from 6,963 for the previous year.

The median overall GPA of the class is 3.85, while the median MCAT score is 509. 

Further, 20 states and territories are represented, along with 14 countries. A total of 61 undergraduate institutions are represented, with the top being University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Oakland University, Wayne State University, Michigan State University, and University of California, Los Angeles.

Mezwa said that their OUWB education will help them become physicians who are not only competent, but also compassionate, communicative, and culturally aware.

Berkley Browne, Ph.D., assistant dean for Student Affairs, celebrated the diverse interests and backgrounds of OUWB's Class of 2025 — including the fact that prior to OUWB, the class collectively accumulated 118,000 services hours. She highlighted a few of the ways students have served. 

"There are far too many wonderful stories to share today, but I can assure you they all have one common theme: the passion for service to others and wanting to make a difference," she said. "We look forward to the many, many positive ways you will serve and contribute to the OUWB community."

In addition to Mezwa and Browne, special greetings were delivered to the class by Oakland University President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D., and Britt Rios-Ellis, Ph.D., executive vice president for Academic Affairs and Provost, Oakland University. 

Guest speaker was James Robbins, M.D., president of medical staff, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak. 

Mezwa concluded the White Coat Ceremony by quoting “Dare to be Yourself,” from Buckminster Fuller, an American visionary and architect.

“Never forget, no matter how overwhelming life’s challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all of the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person.”

'It feels surreal'

Immediately following the ceremony, many students said it felt surreal to cross the stage and have their white coats put on them. 

"I feel like I finally achieved something I've been working really hard for for a long time," said Skylar Sundquist. "It was extra special for me because my graduation ceremony for undergrad was cancelled and we never had one...this was really meaningful to me."

White Coat 2025 B
Students from OUWB's Class of 2025 read the Oath of Geneva during their White Coat Ceremony

"It feels surreal because the journey has been so long...it's always been 'In two years, in one year'...and now it's finally here," said Erin Mueller. 

"After a long couple of years with not very many celebrations of all of our accomplishments, this just felt really special," said Emily Babcock. 

"I can't really believe it," said Saul Castillo. "After so much work and so much time...to think that I'm here now is really exciting."

Castillo and other students said taking the Oath of Geneva was a particularly powerful moment. 

"It's all about everything that I'm going to be working for in these next few years and everything that I've worked for so far," he said. 

Devin Young said he was moved by seeing the physicians at the ceremony recite the oath. 

"I'm trying to really remember the moment and keep it with me for years to come," he said. 

David Howell said that during the oath, "it really hit me that I will have the responsibility of patients someday."

‘Really excited to start’

The White Coat Ceremony marked the end of a busy week for the students that began Sunday. Mezwa welcomed them all that day, before they met other OUWB officials and took care of logistical matters, such as picking up their OUWB backpacks and computers. Students also enjoyed taking photos with OUWB props to post on social media.

The general feeling was one of nervous excitement.

“I’ve always dreamed of being a doctor so actually going through the orientation process for medical school definitely feels surreal,” said Darshana Blaise.

Matthew Prevost said he woke up a bit nervous.

“But Dean Mezwa really made us all feel welcome and I’m really excited to start this journey,” he said.

Orientation continued Monday with most of the day’s focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Presentations also were given on wellness and mental health.

Tuesday saw students learn details about various courses, such as Biomedical Foundations of Clinical Practice (BFCP) and Anatomical Foundations of Clinical Practice (AFCP). They also learned about several other OUWB organizations and services.

On Wednesday, many of the students walked into Beaumont Hospital, Troy, for the first time, to tour the Clinical Skills Center and get a brief intro to the Art and Practice of Medicine (APM), OUWB’s longitudinal course that introduces and develops students’ history taking and physical diagnosis skills.

A video featuring Ashley Aller, M.D., OUWB Class of 2018, was shown during a session introducing APM. Aller offered a touching message of encouragement to the new medical students.


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“I had so many questions when we first arrived…seeing the video made me a little emotional and feel like we’re going to be able to do it,” said Noopur Ranganathan.

Orientation continued Thursday with students learning about other OUWB courses and programs, such as PRISM and Embark.

PRISM is a multi-layered system of support, along with a four-year curriculum that focuses on personal growth, wellness, and career development. Embark is a required scholarly concentration program that provides a mentored introduction to research and scholarship.

The day wrapped with a research fair featuring poster presentations by upper classmates.

“(Orientation) has been an incredible experience,” said Salim Abdul-Razak. “Everything really strengthened and solidified the decision I made to attend OUWB.”

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at [email protected]

To request an interview, visit the OUWB Communications & Marketing webpage.

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