White Coat Ceremony kicks off Bicentennial year

Eve R. Colson, MD ’89, came to Yale as a medical student in 1987, transferring from Dartmouth after her second year. Yale had yet to institute the White Coat Ceremony, the annual rite that welcomes the entering class to medicine. But Colson has attended it in recent years, as a faculty member in the Department of Pediatrics, and she is always impressed by the sea of young faces and what lies ahead of them.

“There is so much potential—I’m excited for them and know they have come to a great place to learn,” says Colson, an associate professor of pediatrics and director of the Well Newborn Nursery at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital. “Learning about diagnoses and medicine are key, but they need to know so much about people and communicating that will make them great doctors.”

Colson explored these and other themes when she addressed the first-year class during this year’s White Coat Ceremony, the first in a series of events marking the School of Medicine’s 200th anniversary. Her talk, “On Becoming a Doctor: Considering the Transition and the Tradition,” was the keynote address at the ceremony on August 19.

During the ceremony, members of the Class of 2014 walked across the Harkness stage to receive the white coat that will identify them as physicians-to-be during their years at YSM. The first-year students names were embroidered on their coats, which also were adorned with patches displaying the Bicentennial logo. Logo patches also were distributed to students in the other classes at the start of the academic year. Harold D. Bornstein Jr., MD ’53, HS ’56, and Christine A. Walsh, MD ’73, the president and vice president of the Association of Yale Alumni in Medicine, presented each student with a commemorative stethoscope during the ceremony. The stethoscopes were provided through the generosity of alumni who donated the cost of the instruments.