Academics

New class of student-doctors welcomed during White Coat Ceremony

September 20, 2022

This year’s incoming students of Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) took part in the annual White Coat Ceremony on July 30, a day when the student-doctors are encouraged to tackle the challenges ahead and are presented with a symbolic white coat. 

The 162-member Class of 2026, the ninth since LUCOM’s founding in 2014, gathered in front of an audience of their family and friends in the Center for Music and the Worship Arts, Concert Hall to hear from Dean Joseph R. Johnson and other administrators.

“This White Coat Ceremony — our annual tradition — not only recognizes a new class of osteopathic medical students but also offers reflection on those who have supported and sacrificed for their loved ones for this new chapter,” Johnson said during his address. “Class of 2026, you did not make it here alone. Your mom and dad — your family — were the first ‘physicians’ in your lives. It was a collective effort to get you here and will continue to be a collective effort to see you through.”

Johnson reminded them that the next four years may be arduous, but they should look to the Lord for strength and peace as an example of the ultimate Healer.

“This White Coat Ceremony is just the beginning of a journey, an adventure, a challenge, and a life-changing endeavor from which you will emerge at the other side forever changed,” he said. “We will challenge you in medicine, but we will also challenge you in your walk with Christ. You will understand the design of the human body and creation and will meet the Creator in your daily walks and learnings.”

“Liberty University’s motto is Training Champions for Christ. In the same way, we seek to train physicians for Christ,’” Johnson added. “We follow Jesus Christ as our model, for He is the Great Physician — He who is a Healer of people physically, and a Healer of souls even in the moment and for eternity.”

The Class of 2026 represents 28 states, the top being Virginia, Texas, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and New Jersey. Fifteen of the students received their undergraduate or master’s degrees from Liberty University before pursuing their Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.).  The class also includes five international students.

At the ceremony’s closing, LUCOM Associate Professor of Family Medicine Raena M. Pettitt led the Osteopathic Oath, with each newly coated student-doctor stating in unison their acknowledgment and responsibility within medicine.  

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