Last week, St. George’s University welcomed its inaugural April class of aspiring doctors with a virtual White Coat Ceremony. Each term, the ceremony is held for first-term students, representing an important milestone marking their entry into the medical profession.
“I want to welcome the students from the first April start for the School of Medicine,” said Dr. Charles R. Modica, chancellor of SGU. “Forty-five years after our first charter class—and in the middle of a pandemic—you’ve decided to take upon yourselves the rigorous studies to pursue a medical degree. We’re here to help you succeed in any way we can, and if you’re anything like your predecessors, I think you’ll do just fine. We’re excited to have you as the newest charter class of the University.”
The 2025 April class joined its fellow incoming students from the August 2020 and January 2021 classes from St. George’s University of Grenada School of Medicine/Northumbria University Four- and Five-Year Program and the School of Medicine, who had their White Coat Ceremonies in March. The April class welcomed students from 22 countries, including the United States, Ecuador, Canada, Argentina, India, Algeria, China, Grenada, Jamaica, Nigeria, Cuba, Guyana, Haiti, Fiji, Republic of South Korea, Afghanistan, Cameroon, Ethiopia, El Salvador, Ghana, Rwanda, and Ukraine.
In his welcome remarks to the latest incoming class, Dr. Marios Loukas, the dean of the School of Medicine, encouraged the medical students to strive for excellence in their pursuit of knowledge and to heed the oath they were about to pledge.
“As you don your white physician’s coats, you pledge an oath of professionalism and service,” said Dr. Loukas. “Professionalism is a commitment to integrity, altruism, competence, and ethics in the service of others. We must endeavor to honor the sacred trust and privilege society places on medical professionals—cognizant that the standard is an ideal that we must continuously aim to achieve. I welcome you to the noble profession of medicine.”
In his keynote address, Dr. G. Richard Olds, president of SGU and a tropical disease specialist, shared his knowledge and expertise about the fight against COVID-19. He focused on the history of the white coat and the place physicians held in society.
“We have an opportunity during the COVID-19 pandemic to reestablish what’s important in physicians,” said Dr. Olds. “By taking on great personal risk and sometimes becoming surrogate loved ones while caring for patients, this global health crisis has shined a light on healthcare professionals on the frontlines and created a new opportunity for all healthcare workers to be appreciated by greater society.”
After sharing a touching story on what it means to be a good physician, Dr. Olds left the newest class of future doctors with a few additional words of wisdom.
“You will learn a lot of medical facts from your faculty—facts about the body and how it breaks down in disease,” he said. “You’ll learn how to diagnose difficult illnesses and how to treat them. But if you’re open to it, you’ll learn how to become a better doctor largely from your patients. So, as you don your white coat today, welcome to the noble profession of medicine.”
– Ray-Donna Peters