FIU’s first medical students receive their white coats in ceremony

MIAMI (Aug. 7, 2009) – The 43 students who make up the inaugural class of the FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine received their traditional white medical coats in a ceremony on Friday.

The White Coat Ceremony, which officially marks the beginning of the students’ medical education, was held at the Wertheim Performing Arts Center on Florida International University’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus (MMC). A reception followed at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Art Museum, also at MMC.

In addition to their white coats, each student received a stethoscope, donated by Leon Medical Centers.

The event’s keynote speaker was Dr. Darrell G. Kirch, president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges, and others who spoke at the event included Dr. Herbert Wertheim, for whom the medical school was named in recognition of his historic $20 million gift; FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg; and Dr. John A. Rock, founding dean of the Wertheim College of Medicine and senior vice president of medical affairs.

Profiles of FIU’s diverse inaugural class, chosen from a pool of 3,332 applicants, can be found on the “43 Dreams That Will Touch Thousands” website.

A symbolic event introduced in 1993, the White Coat Ceremony was established after a group of distinguished physicians, medical educators and community leaders formed the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

The Foundation concluded that the beginning of a student’s journey into medicine is the best time to influence standards of professionalism, humanistic values and behavior. More than 100 medical schools in the United States now hold White Coat Ceremonies.

Media contact: Madeline Baró, 305-348-2234


About the FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine:
The College of Medicine was approved in 2006 by the Florida Board of Governors and the Florida Legislature. In 2008, it received preliminary accreditation by the Liaison Committee for Medical Education of the AAMC and admitted its first class in August 2009. Among the innovative elements of the FIU College of Medicine is a program called NeighborhoodHELP™, which will send medical students along with their counterparts in social work, nursing and public health, into the community. The FIU College of Medicine is expected to have a multi-billion-dollar economic impact on Miami-Dade County, bringing thousands of jobs to the area and eventually contributing millions to the state coffers every year. For more information visit

About FIU:

Florida International University was founded in 1965 and is Miami’s only public research university. With a student body of more than 38,000, its 17 colleges and schools offer more than 200 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations and law. More than 100,000 FIU alumni live and work in South Florida. FIU has been classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a “High Research Activity University”. In August 2009, FIU welcomed the inaugural class of the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. For more information about FIU, visit