Class of 2026 School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony

Class of 2026 School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony

SOM Class of 2026

The University of Louisville School of Medicine continued its 185th anniversary year with the orientation and induction of the class of 2026. On Sunday, July 31, the students were officially welcomed into the School of Medicine at the annual White Coat Ceremony.

The ceremony marked the official start of the students’ medical education. Each of the 159 students was welcomed individually by faculty, staff and other respected school leaders and a white coat was placed on their shoulders. As part of the ceremony, the students recited the Declaration of Geneva, a commitment to the humanitarian standards of medicine.

Joseph Holland, a second-year medical student, offered seven points of advice to the incoming class.

“Do not listen to everyone all at once; find a dedicated study space; practice questions make perfect; do not panic, channel your anxiety; always ask for help; failure sets you up for success; and, to build endurance, you must endure. Remember, you’re in this for the long haul. This was never a sprint; it’s a marathon,” Holland said.

For the School of Medicine, the event represents another opportunity to cultivate the next generation of health care professionals.

“We are thrilled to welcome our new class of medical students,” said Toni Ganzel, dean of the School of Medicine. “The White Coat Ceremony is a momentous occasion that signifies the hard work these students have put into their studies already and the opportunities they have to look forward to with a life in medicine.”

Christopher M. Jones, endowed professor in transplant surgery and the event’s keynote speaker, advised the students, “to innovate, collaborate and deliver care with the highest integrity.” He implored them to, “strive for mastery, humbly learn from our shortcomings, seek self-improvement and build mutual trust with all of our patients, especially those in marginalized communities.”

The White Coat Ceremony was the culmination of a week-long orientation for the students, which included basic life-support training, student wellness sessions, the introduction of the curriculum and course directors, lunch with the Advisory Colleges and a session led by Ganzel on the joy of medicine.

The class of 2026 represents 21 states, 62 colleges and universities and 30 undergraduate majors. It is one of the most diverse cohorts in the school’s history, with 61% of the class identifying as female, 22% from groups underrepresented in medicine, 16% from rural counties in Kentucky and 14% age 27 and older.

“The variety of backgrounds shared in the classroom will offer an unparalleled educational experience for all of our medical students, better preparing them for a lifelong career in medicine,” said Ann Shaw, vice dean for undergraduate medical education.

Welcome, class of 2026!

View photos from White Coat Ceremony here.