Winter 2014

The Start of a Mission

200 new medical students don their white coats

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Each year since 1997, first-year students have been welcomed into medicine at the White Coat ceremony. The popular event is both festive and meaningful. Photo: Zara Tsanev

On September 7, some 200 members of the class of 2018 donned their white coats, one by one, in a formal ceremony symbolic of their entry into the field of medicine. The event, which was held at the Cutler Majestic Theatre in Boston, began with welcoming remarks from Dean Harris Berman and Thomas Hedges, ’75, president of the Tufts Medical Alumni Association.

The keynote speaker was Robert Blackman, ’69, who urged the students to honor the best traditions of medicine as they undertake their studies and launch their eventual careers. 

Blackman was a former internist in the U.S. Navy who co-founded California Primary Physicians in 1975. This physician-owned, physician-led organization grew to become one of the largest medical groups in California. It now has a presence in five other states and serves more than 1 million patients.

A longtime supporter of the School of Medicine, Blackman, together with his wife, Joan, endowed the Blackman Foundation Scholarship in 2013 as part of the school’s ongoing Financial Aid Initiative. “Tufts distinguished itself by teaching me an attitude,” he told Tufts Medicine at the time of his gift last year. “Medicine isn’t a job; it’s a mission.”

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