By Wendy Sarubbi | September 12, 2011 9:52 am

To a standing ovation, cheers and camera flashes, 80 new medical students were recognized as colleagues dedicated to patient care in front of faculty and family members at Monday’s 2011 “White Coat Ceremony.”

The class of 2015 is the third at the UCF College of Medicine, bringing total enrollment to 180. The students were coated at the UCF Pegasus Ballroom by Dr. Deborah German, vice president for medical affairs and founding dean of the medical school.

In welcoming the class, UCF President John Hitt said the White Coat ceremony “underscores how landmark community achievements can evolve when people work together for the greater good…Today’s celebration is the result of the many individuals and institutions who joined us to create a world-class medical school in a remarkably short period of time. Only four years ago, we had yet to break ground on the medical college that made possible this morning’s white coat ceremony.”

The 80 new students were chosen from 3,329 applicants based on their academic excellence and passion for medicine. Eleven have master’s degrees and three have doctorate degrees. The Class of 2015 is comprised of 40 men and 40 women who speak 16 different languages. They have volunteered with community organizations from the Boy and Girl Scouts to Habitat for Humanity and have conducted medical research on topics ranging from asthma in swimmers to glaucoma. They have competed in wrestling, championship figure skating, soccer and crew and have participated in arts ranging from theater to trumpet to ballroom dancing. “I am impressed with you,” Dr. German said, “And I suspect in the next four years you will impress our community.”

Dr. German than held the students’ first class, where she asked them to identify the characteristics they want in the doctor treating the person they love most. Sharing the traits of “The Good Doctor” has become a UCF College of Medicine White Coat tradition. As the new students called out words such as “compassionate,” “humble,” “culturally sensitive” and “responsible,” their dean wrote the words on a blackboard. The students listed 61 traits. “This is what you will strive to become,” Dr. German told them. “This is your contract with me, your faculty and staff, your community and with each other.”

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