Baylor College of Medicine alumni keep alive an important rite of passage—the White Coat Ceremony. Each summer, alumni gifts purchase white coats for all first-year medical students and second-year physician assistant students to support them on their journey to professionalism. As our future alums don their coats before faculty, family and friends, they take an oath affirming their commitment to the highest standards of ethics in patient care.
More than a coat, each alumni gift is a message of encouragement to the next generation of Baylor physicians and physician assistants! Many alumni include with their gifts a few words of wisdom, reprinted below to remind all of us what the white coat means.
Messages for the Class of 2020
“Give it a good swing.”
Perry M. White, M.D. ’53
“Baylor Medical Students - Medicine should be a calling to serve. It is not a calling to get wealthy! Serve - you will be rewarded many times over.”
"When I was accepted to Baylor College of Medicine in 1950, medicine was like a 'calling' similar, I am certain, to that experienced by many called to the ministry. Medicine was not seen as a way to wealth or acclaim. Kind, compassionate care of the ill, the injured, the frightened patients was our goal."
Bruce K. Jacobson, M.D. ’54
“Congratulations: To imagine you’re in a situation where there is no electricity – only your knowledge of anatomy – physiology – once a month give it a thought!”
Lee L. D. Tuttle, Jr., M.D. ’56
“Enjoy every day of your medical education. If you know what the next day lecture will be about, try to read about the subject the night before—then listen carefully to the lecture. If you are offered an optional lecture on medical ethics—be there. Remember the BCM Alumni are proud of you.”
Fred W. Riley, Jr., M.D. ’57
“You are embarking on a singular career where you will be entrusted with the most precious gifts—lives and families. Never measure your compensation monetarily or even by great accomplishments. It should be in the gratitude and love that you see in the eyes and are told by the patients and their significant others.”
Jimmy Clay Burns, M.D. ’60 – An Old Country Physician
“Not everyone is given the honor and privilege of wearing a ‘white coat.’ You have earned it. Treat it with respect. Always put the patient first.”
William R. Cheek, M.D. ’60
“You will be proud of Baylor Medicine the rest of your life—you will be so well trained you will be able to do anything you can dream. Congratulations!”
James F. Reeves, M.D. ’60
“Work hard. Learn a lot. I may need your services in the future.”
Edwin R. Buster III, M.D. ’62
"Always consider the patient first in your practice and you will have a wonderful career."
Paul Schnur, M.D. '62
“Although the path to your M.D. degree is difficult you will look back on these years as some of the best in your life....enjoy!”
Calvin N. McKaig, M.D. ’64
“You will have an aha moment!”
"Be the best doctor you can be."
Admiral Harold M. Koenig, M.D. ’66
“You are off to an amazing, rewarding and exciting life.”
Major W. Bradshaw, M.D., M.S. ’67
“Always keep the welfare of your patient foremost.”
Ronald J. Pinkenburg, M.D. ’67
“Remember, it’s a privilege not a process, and a profession not a job.”
Carol J. Baker, M.D. ’68
“I would still ‘do it again’ despite all the difficulty of training and roadblocks to just practice medicine. Truly is worth it!”
James A. Bowden, M.D. ’68
“Wear the white coat with dignity and pride—it is an honor and privilege to get to serve the public as a physician.”
"Remember to always place your patient's interest first; you will be loved by your patients and respected by your colleagues."
Bill H. Warren, M.D. ’68
“Have a wonderful career in a great profession!”
Richard G. Sugden, M.D. ’69
“People respect the white coat and the person in it—wear it like you deserve it.”
James E. Key II, M.D. ’70
"May this White Coat launch your career as well as it did mine! Best wishes."
J. Geoffrey Stevenson '70
“While the journey seems long and hard at the beginning with perseverance and dedication the rewards at the end last a lifetime.”
William R. Francis, Jr., M.D. ’73
“Make your vocation your vacation.”
Gerardo A. Cabrera-Meza, M.D. ’76
“Congratulations! Best of luck to you.”
Arleen and Joel J. Teplinsky, M.D. ’77
“Always remember the privilege it is to be a physician.”
Daniel P. Logan, M.D. ’78
“Be proud and humble.”
George P. Taylor, Jr., M.D. ’78
“Remember to always put the interests of our patients and public above your own to warrant the trust that our patients and public so generously and trustingly give to us.”
Donald E. Wesson, M.D. ’78
“Fasten your seat-belts - figuratively and literally.”
Leslie L. Cortes, M.D. ’79
“What a wonderful profession you have chosen. All the best to each of you.”
James W. Sawyer, M.D. ’79
Words of Wisdom for Physician Assistant Students
"In the care of your patients, say to yourself every day, 'It is not about me.' And to your staff, 'It is not about us.' Keeps everything in perspective."
Faith Sanders, P.A.-C '87
"Hang in there! The fun has just begun!!"
Teri B. Horswell, P.A.-C. '96
"Only carry non-melting chocolate in the pockets."
Kristen M. Meaders, P.A.-C '97
“Congrats and you’ve only just begun!”
Alice M. Armour, P.A.-C. ’78
“Trust in your training. You wouldn't have made it this far if you didn't have what it takes to become an excellent PA! Introduce yourself to everyone in the room and look at the patient, not your computer/chart/tablet as you conduct your visit. And smile!”
"Learn every patient's story and find a connection with them. Focus on your patient, not the EHR."
Jill E. Vershel, P.A.-C. ’07
“Proud of being with you with white coat on.”
Xinwen Wang, P.A.-C. ’10
“You've made it through your didactic year, so now comes the fun part! I hope you enjoy learning more about the specialties you love, and develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for the areas of medicine you thought you would never enjoy.”
Linda W. Egan, P.A.-C. ’12
More Messages for Medical Students
Best of luck as you start your adventure in medicine. No better place to learn than BCM. From a very proud alum! - Mark C. Juretic, M.D. ’91
"Understand the privilege it is to be a doctor and to help others."
Michael T. Mohun, M.D. '79
"Your greatest wisdom will come from listening to your patients. They have a story to tell, so give them a chance."
Alton Thomson, M.D. '79
“Please, please practice medicine with your patient as your first priority. Do not let insurance companies or government tell you what your morals or ethics should be. Your responsibility is to your patients not payers.”
John David Cranor, M.D. ’81
“To be used for the betterment of mankind and with pride for BCM.”
Joseph S. Coselli, M.D. ’82
"Always be humble. Best wishes as you begin this amazing journey."
Curtis McGuyer, M.D. '82
“Hang in there! It’s a great ride.”
Debora I. Sciscoe, M.D. ’82
“Major Bradshaw told us on the first day—If you have a great way to remember something—tell the person sitting next to you! Make sure she’s smarter than you are, because when you’re sick, she’ll be the one taking care of you!”
Donald E. Tutt, M.D. ’83
"The physician-patient relationship is a covenant, not a contract. It calls for a great deal on your part. It is, in some way, holy."
Deborah L. McNabb, M.D. '84
“Study like Granger. Eat like Weasley. Live like Potter.”
Ellen E. Wilson, M.D. ’84
"Take advantage of every learning opportunity. You will make a difference in the lives of several patients and their families. Be your best every day."
Stanley W. Spinner, M.D., RES '85
"It ain't easy, but it sure is worth it!"
David B. Engler, M.D. '85
"Have a great four years of medical school. Learn as much as possible, but also enjoy the experience."
Michael Weisberg, M.D. '85
"Observe the great clinicians to whom you will be exposed and ask them to explain the decisions they make. This will be far more productive than rote memorization.
Kenneth A. Somberg, M.D. '86
"Congratulations and best of luck as you embark on a lifelong commitment to learning, teaching and healing."
Richard M. Sperling, M.D. '88
"Choose a career in general internal medicine. Our specialty needs you!"
J. David Spivey, M.D. '89
"It is more than a jacket. This white coat means TRUST to the patients you serve. It is an honor and a privilege to wear one. Guard it with integrity."
Tony J. Lin, M.D. '90
"The practice of medicine is the most rewarding profession, so make sure you enjoy the journey. Always remember the patient you are trying to help and get to know them. They are the reason you are here today. Good luck and have fun!"
Marie F. Maurice, M.D. '90
“Listen to the patients and do not interrupt them other than to redirect or have your questions answered. Listening is the most important tool you possess followed by the physical exam.”
Micaela Aleman, M.D. ’90 and Kent T. Ellington, M.D. ’91
“Best of luck as you start your adventure in medicine. No better place to learn than BCM. From a very proud alum!”
Mark C. Juretic, M.D. ’91
“Be humble. Admit you don’t know everything. Strive to learn.”
"Wear this coat with humility, honor and pride."
Bo S. Thordarson, M.D. ’91
“Making a difference is difficult at first. Work hard, but be patient!”
"Where science fails, let humanity prevail."
Theodore V. Arevalo, M.D. ’92
“Welcome to the incredible privilege of caring for your fellow human beings! Being a doctor is one of the most amazing callings in the world! Congratulations!”
"Try to enjoy every minute of your learning and begin every day with gratitude for the awesome privilege you have been given to care for others as a physician."
Linda B. Andrews, M.D., RES ’93
“Embrace your time with your med school friends. You and they are the future of medicine. Savor the love, fun, fear, exhilaration of learning how talented and how far you can grow!”
Winona Y. L. Wong, M.D., Ph.D. ’93
“Go to the Gingerman pub! Keep it a Baylor hang out. Traditions matter.”
Daniel J. Flaherty, M.D. ’95
“Always stay true to yourself.”
Mylan N. Lam, M.D. ’95
"Follow your heart when choosing your specialty!"
Steven E. Schiebel, M.D. '95
"Study hard! Someone's life depends upon it."
Hui-Hsing Wong, M.D. '95
“The ‘white coat’ is a direct passage to your goal of becoming a physician. Wear it with pride and respect for the profession. May God bless you.”
Benito V. Marrufo, M.D. ’96
“Enjoy your career in medicine. It is an amazing journey!”
Adriana Elena Foster, M.D. ’97
"Treat your patients as people, not cases. All the love you give will come back to you.
This is a calling and profession - set your expectations accordingly and you'll be much happier. Take care of your body as well as your mind. Sleep around seven hours, stay hydrated, eat healthy and exercise regularly. Learn to meditate. Notice a tree.
Be kind to everyone you encounter. Even the janitorial staff is as essential to the hospital as you are. Nurses will teach and protect you if treated kindly.
Know your patient. Trust your instincts and follow your integrity. Listen to and hear your patients - they will tell you the diagnosis and so much more between the lines. Remember to have fun at work every day."
Ruth L. Wintz, M.D. '97
“Wear your white coat proudly - not only as a symbol of the respected profession you will soon join, but also one of your dedication and past achievements that brought you to this time and place. Best wishes for your continued success!”
Joohi Jimenez-Shahed, M.D. ’00
"Welcome to the Baylor family! You will have the opportunity and the power to make such an important impact in the lives of so many patients and their families. Be patient, be wise and, above all, be compassionate to those around you every day."
Andrea M. Sheenan, M.D. '00
“Congratulations! An exciting, and occasionally scary, but ultimately rewarding experience awaits you. Make the most of your time and avail yourself of the opportunities that Baylor offers, both inside and outside the classroom.”
Krisna P. Chai, M.D. ’02
“It is a privilege to be a physician.”
Sun Y. Ruggeri, M.D. ’03
“Make sure you find out what you’re most passionate about in medicine and then pursue it with all your might.”
Henry H. Chen, M.D. ’05
“Dear Student, you may feel dorky the first time you put on this short white coat. You may look at the long white coats with awe, wonder and longing. You may feel a measure of fear intermingled with excitement. All of these emotions are normal. A white coat is a transformation. When you put this coat on, people-total strangers-will tell you their deepest secrets and fears. They will look to you for strength and wisdom, help and empathy, a sympathetic ear, a warm hug. Do not take these responsibilities lightly and do not fear them. Wearing the coat is an honor and a privilege. It is a lifetime of hard work, dedication, learning, teaching, friendship and doing. There will be good days and bad days. Embrace them all, go forth, and do good work. Best of luck.”
Tullika Garg, M.D. ’05
“Medicine is a team effort. Play nice!”
Robert S. Schmidt, M.D. ’05
“Remember that the greatest trust a patient can place in you is to put his or her life in your hands.”
Nausheen Jamal, M.D. ’06
“Don't be afraid to say, ‘I don't know.’”
Mia D. Pfleging, M.D. ’06
"I graduated from BCM in 2008 and am now a small town physician. It may seem quaint, but I deliver babies and hold the hands of WWII veterans as they fight their final battle. No matter where you wind up, always remember what it means to be a doctor."
Matthew Brown, M.D. '08
"Study hard, listen to your patient and consult."
Neda Zarrin-Khameh, M.D., FEL '08
"Remember that everything you learn will one day help a patient. Soak it all up. All the hard work and stress will be so worth it! Congrats on making it through year one!"
A. Hope Johnson, M.D. '09
"Take the time to study integrative medicine at some point in your career. You will understand medicine and health a whole lot better."
Vik Rajan, M.D., FEL '09
“Never forget why you are here, and what brought you here. Those recollections are the foundation of your profession and will sustain a successful career for life!”
Peter J. Carlson, M.D. ’11
“You are beginning a great adventure into modern medicine. I wish that you will enjoy it as much as I did.”
John T. Dawson, Jr., M.D.