The 123 new medical students at NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM) at Arkansas State University (A-State) celebrated with family, friends, and administrators as they received their white coats, signifying their official start of medical school.
The ceremony, held in the Fowler Center on the NYITCOM at A-State Jonesboro campus, opened with the singing of the national anthem by Jamarcus Brider, a member of the school’s inaugural Class of 2020, and featured a keynote address by Barbara Ross-Lee, NYITCOM at A-State’s founding dean who retired earlier this year.
Arkansas State Chancellor Kelly Damphousse, Ph.D., and NYIT President Hank Foley, Ph.D., joined NYITCOM Dean Wolfgang Gilliar, D.O., and NYITCOM at A-State Site Dean Shane Speights, D.O., in welcoming the Class of 2021, which comprises 61 percent males and 39 percent females, and 15.5 percent under-represented minorities. This year’s Arkansas cohort has an average age of 24, with the oldest 48 and the youngest at 20.
“Today, you join an elite group representing centuries of medical wisdom,” Foley told the students. “You will follow in the path of revered professionals, including more than 7,000 who have earned their medical degree at NYITCOM.”
Speights notes that 64 percent hail from the school’s target “catchment” area, exemplifying that the site is fulfilling its mission to address the region’s need for medical professionals.
“The Mississippi Delta Region is one of the most economically disadvantaged and medically underserved areas in the nation,” said Speights. “The mission of this campus is to train medical students in this region for this region. This White Coat Ceremony reflects the commitment to that mission.”
The student oath of commitment was led by Dean Gilliar after faculty and guests donned the medical students with white coats for the first time.
The event also included the presentation of three Standard of Excellence Awards, which recognize NYITCOM at Arkansas State University faculty and staff members for outstanding service and commitment to the college and local community. This year’s recipients were: Janet Jamison, library assistant; Steve Pu, D.O., adjunct assistant professor; and Andrea Read, D.O., assistant dean for academic affairs.