The TCU and UNT Health Science Center School of Medicine held two celebrations Saturday in Fort Worth: one for the class of 2025 and one for the class of 2024.
For the 60 students in the class of 2024, it was a “re-coat” ceremony after a year-long delay because of COVID-19.
A crop of future physicians stood next to a white box with their names on it.
They were surrounded by family and friends for a long-awaited in-person celebration.
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Second-year medical student Lauren Moore said her grandparents were supposed to be at her white coat celebration.
“I lost them in November and December to COVID-19. My grandfather was a physician. He was a pathologist and my grandmother was a nurse. So it’s definitely been challenging this year,” Moore said.
There was a countdown and then a huge cheer, as the medical students unwrapped their boxes and officially donned their white coats.
“This is so exciting to be here in person, and even though we’ve been wearing our white coats all year, this is a moment for all of our class to get together and really celebrate the past year that we’ve been through,” Moore said.
The students actually got their white coats a year ago -- during a drive-thru ceremony in a parking garage because of pandemic restrictions on in-person events.
But Saturday’s official in-person celebration was well worth the wait.
There were hugs and a special gift from Moore’s grandfather for her to hold onto -- a pen he used as a physician that he passed down to her.
The pandemic has propelled an increase in applications to medical school.
“Our application numbers went from, in the year of the pandemic, to about 4,000 for 60 seats, to over 8,000 for 60 seats," Assistant Dean of Admissions and Enrollment Services Erin Nelson said. "As an admissions dean, that really shows me that the people who are still coming forward have that absolute drive and calling to practice medicine."
There was something else to celebrate during Saturday’s celebration -- a free year of medical school for the class of 2024.
They learned that anonymous donors paid for their second year of tuition at the medical school.
The school’s inaugural class, the class of 2023, also had its first year of medical school paid for by H. Paul Dorman, who owns DFB Pharmaceuticals, Inc.