Adam De Jesus is presented his white coat by faculty mentor Farah Ali, MD, assistant professor in pediatrics-kidney diseases. De Jesus is enrolled in the Medical Scientist Training Program.

Carrie Wilson stood before family, friends and faculty during Founders’ Day on August 16 reciting a promise that will bookend her time at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“I solemnly pledge to consecrate my life to the service of humanity,” Wilson repeated with 161 peers in the Class of 2017. “The health of my patient will be my first consideration; my colleagues will be my sisters and brothers.”

The Declaration of Geneva came at the end of the ceremony that serves as the official start of the academic year. Students will also deliver this modern equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath four years from now during the graduation convocation.

“You have opened a new portal to your life’s work that focuses on medicine and science very few are privileged to enter,” said Eric G. Neilson, MD, vice president for medical affairs and Lewis Landsberg Dean. “There are myriad exciting times ahead for you, not the least of which is working in a medical center, teaming with world-class hospitals.”

The program was the culmination of a week-and-a-half’s events for new students, which included an Introduction to the Profession Module, overview of the curriculum, team-building activities, and dinners with the dean and faculty.

University President Morton Schapiro, PhD, urged each student to leave his or her own mark upon Feinberg. “Think of yourself as having arrived as physicians,” he said. “You have all made many sacrifices to get here, so take a moment to be proud of yourself, but remember that the best doctors are humble doctors. You are no better, no different than your patients, but you have been blessed with opportunity.”

Following Schapiro’s remarks, Mary McDermott, MD, professor in general internal medicine and geriatrics and preventive medicine, delivered the keynote address.

Professor Mary McDermott, MD, receives a commemorative plaque from Dean Eric G. Neilson, MD, following her Founders’ Day keynote address.

Professor Mary McDermott, MD, receives a commemorative plaque from Dean Eric G. Neilson, MD, following her Founders’ Day keynote address.

“At this very moment, you may be more focused on your first year as medical students, perhaps thinking about the apartment you rented, what the gross anatomy lab will be like, or the characteristics of your classmates,” she said. “But be certain to pursue a career in medicine that you are passionate about. Early on, there will be many diverse clinical specialties to choose from, ranging from primary care to pathology, radiology, and neurosurgery. Remember, too, you have an opportunity to be educators, scientists, administrators, inventors and leaders within the medical profession.”

McDermott charged students to practice medicine with humility, make an impact on the lives of others, and tend to their own health and personal relationships throughout the journey.

Standing alongside faculty mentors Farah Ali, MD, assistant professor in pediatrics-kidney diseases; Robert Golden, MD, assistant professor of clinical medicine-general internal medicine and geriatrics; Gary Martin, MD, vice chair of medicine; and Karin Ulstrup, MD, instructor of clinical medicine-general internal medicine and geriatrics, the first-year students were given their white coats by members of the Class of 2016. In a burgeoning tradition, the coats were sponsored by 76 medical school alumni (see list at bottom of article).

“There’s definitely a connection with this moment, receiving our white coats, and the realization that we will now need to buckle down and really get ready to work hard,” said Jordan Robinson, an incoming student from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “I understand that I am not a doctor yet and it’s easy to remain humble in that way, but there is definitely a sense of accomplishment in being at a prestigious university like Northwestern and slipping on the white coat for the first time.”

The Class of 2017 comprises 162 MD candidates. Among the 20 students pursuing dual-degrees, 12 are entering the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) and will receive both MD and PhD degrees. Six students will pursue an MD and Master of Public Health (MD/MPH), and two will pursue an MD and Master of Arts in Medical Humanities and Bioethics (MD/MA).

Founders’ Day also served as the backdrop for numerous student honors given to members of the Class of 2016 who have made a positive impact in the community and displayed a level of leadership commended by their peers.

Weldon Cooke, MD ’62, Ian Cooke, a first-year student, and Jim Cooke, MD ’82, pose for a three-generation photograph at the Founders’ Day reception.

Weldon Cooke, MD ’62, Ian Cooke, a first-year student, and Jim Cooke, MD ’82, pose for a three-generation photograph at the Founders’ Day reception.

Third-year student Paul Devlin, president of the Feinberg Student Senate, presented Addie Boone, Maggie Wright, KJ Hansmann, Allison Ducharme-Smith, and Maximilian Meyer with the Class of 2016 Student Senate Service Awards.

Afterward, members of the Feinberg community and invited guests attended the Nathan Smith Davis Founders’ Day reception. Sponsored by the Medical Alumni Association, the reception honors one of the medical school’s founders and its first dean.

Alumni Who Sponsored White Coats for the Class of 2017
Daryl S. Larke, MD
Owen L. Robinson, MD
James Apostol, MD
Dr. Gregory J. Bauwens
Catherine A. Biren, MD
Karen Marie Breen, MD
Robert A. DeYoung, MD
L. Penfield Faber, MD
Arthur B. Feldman, MD
Harold E. Fromm, MD
Theodore Georgis, Jr., MD
Ronald J. Homer, MD
Frank J. Kelly, MD
Lynn R. Kong, MD
Ralph K. Losey, MD
Donald K. Middleton, MD
Craig Ono, MD
Thomas E. Ryan, MD
Timothy A. Sanborn, MD
Jean H. Schott-Wagner, MD
Huy N. Trinh, MD
Jerome C. Cohen, MD
Michael A. Kass, MD
Rebecca C. Tung, MD
Francisco Gonzalez-Scarano, MD
R. Marshall Colburn, Jr., MD
*William P. Marineau, MD
Margaret Zimmerman, MD
Russell D. Brown, MD
Cyrus R. Piraka, MD
Mark Edward Collins, MD
Dave S. Gupta, MD
James R. Krieg, MD
Melissa A Marinelli, MD
L. Clifford McDonald, MD
*J. Philip Nelson, MD
Timothy A. Pritts, MD
Susan M. Soto, MD
Lyjia O Strachan, MD
Mark A. Amdur, MD
Gerald A. Close, MD
Mark S. Gordon, MD
Dr. Onur Melen
Pamela R. Miner, MD
Bharat B. Mittal, MD
Jay A. Perman, MD
Carol Peterson, MD
Dr. Richard C. Szumel
David C. Bartsch, MD
Kuljeet K. Gill, MD
Dr. Kenneth O’Riordan
Robert W. Rasch, MD
Paloma Toledo, MD
Elliot L. Francke, MD
Robert C. Bain, MD
Kathleen K. Cain, MD
Robert G. Clark, MD
Donald R. Cole, MD
James H. Esther, MD
Jenny C. Griswold, MD
Dr. Christina A. O’Connor
N. Kermit Olson, MD
David R. Rosi, MD
Richard Sung Song, MD
Robert G. Perlmuter, MD
David V. Lightfoot, MD
Dr. Jay L. Korach
Moses Rodriguez, MD
Theodore J. Schuerman, MD
Janet R. Serwint, MD
Bonnie J. Stabrawa, MD
Julie B. Pearlman, MD
Dr. Michael A. Micaletti
Robert M. Eisendrath, MD
John J. Warner, MD
James E. Cooke, MD


*This individual now deceased.



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