White Coat Ceremony & Welcome Notes Project

Each fall, the DMS community welcomes the incoming class to the privileges and responsibilities of the medical profession at the White Coat Ceremony. This event, where students receive their first white coat, marks the symbolic beginning of their career in medicine. When members of the DMS Class of 2012 received their brand new white coats at this year’s ceremony on October 4, they were thrilled to reach into the pocket and find a personal note of welcome from a DMS alumna or alumnus.

Thanks to the more than 80 alumni volunteers who wrote warm and personal greetings to our incoming first year students, the white coat welcome notes project was a huge success. Scroll down this page to read a few examples of those notes.

Please click here if you wish to participate in this project as a note writer next year. Interested alumni should volunteer by July 10, 2009.

Among those who addressed the 81 members of the Class of 2012 at the White Coat Ceremony was Pearl O’Rourke, DMS’73, president-elect of the DMS Alumni Council. Read her heartfelt, wise, and humorous remarks here.

Sample welcome notes from DMS alumni
to members of the Class of 2012:

Mallory Rose -- Welcome to the hill winds of the north.
     I hope you are as excited about being a member of the Dartmouth Medical School community as I was when I was accepted back in 1956.
     Now that I have retired, after delivering 6500 bairns, I can look back on a satisfying career. What will you see when you look back in the year 2060?
     Remember to enjoy each patient (even the difficult ones), to work hard, to learn well and strive always to become what the old DMS motto says: "To treat the whole patient with the whole physician."

Warm best wishes,
Bob Shirley, DMS '58

Welcome Mina,
     As you embark on this next leg of your journey, know that you are supported by friends and family and a Dartmouth Medical School community that believes in you and encourages your success in this amazing life choice that is the practice of Medicine.
     I graduated from DMS in 1976, and have practiced internal medicine in two university teaching settings, in an HMO for 17 years and now practice part-time in Hopsice and Palliative Care Medicine. I never imagined that I would be part of an interdisciplinary team, delivering care to patients at the end of their lives in their homes. What a privilege it is.
     Mina, listen to your heart, find your passion in medicine and know that your mission to care for fellow human beings is challenging, but rewarding. It is exhausting but renewing. Remember always, that the patient is the one with the disease, that all patients deserve our care and compassion AND that you must also care for yourself as you do this work of doctoring.

NAMASTE, Mina, and best of luck.
Linda C. Coffin, DMS '76

 Hi Caleb,
     Welcome to the "white coat club." Not sure if any of us are truly worthy, but always give it your best. Wear it with honor and pride, and first do no harm.
A few pieces of advice:
        - don't take yourself too seriously - medicine is merely the art of entertaining the patient while nature takes its course
        - the enemy of good is better
        - a tincture of time is often the best medicine
        - a third of what you learn now will always be correct, a third will change, and a third is wrong - therefore, never stop your medical education
        - great things do not happen by impulse, but by a series of small steps brought together (getting your white coat is your first step)
        - and most importantly, always listen to the patient.
Best of luck on your privileged journey through medicine. We are all so very lucky. Welcome aboard... and buckle up, it's a crazy but fun ride.
Put this away and read it every 5 years, it will continue to make more sense :-)

John Hoy, DMS '93

Welcome Karl,
You are entering a fantastic episode of your life, both professionally and personally. Medical school will undoubtedly challenge you (it does for us all), but Dartmouth is a great place to take on this challenge. I came to DMS with a plan to become a small town family doctor in Maine. Instead, the challenge of academia and the joy of teaching led me to Stanford where I am a member of the Clinical Educator faculty in internal medicine.
There are a myriad of opportunities available. My advice? Don't pick too fast, but certainly dig in and gather all the experience you can in learning, research, teaching, service, and any other opportunity that comes your way. Oh yeah, and then there is skiing, kayaking, soccer, hockey, singing, 5-Olde, and much more.
What you will do will excite us all.

Best to you,
Christopher (Topher) Sharp, DMS '98