AUA College of Medicine celebrated the Fall 2009 semester’s White Coat ceremony on December 12, 2009 at the Precision Centre in Antigua.

The ceremony honored the semester’s departing students who have successfully completed AUA’s Preclinical Science program, and will return to the United States to begin their fifth semester in clinical medicine. Afterward, these students will sit for the U.S. Medical Licensure Exam (USMLE) and complete their clinical rotations during semesters six through ten. AUA Executive Dean Dr. Peter Bell congratulated the departing class and advised them never to forget the foundation of preclinical science because it is important at every level in medicine. Like the outgoing class, Dr. Bell is also moving on to the U.S. next semester, where he will assume the position of AUA’s Executive Clinical Dean.

AUA Provost Dr. Seymour Schwartz was the keynote speaker for the evening. He explained that physicians in the 1900s originally wore the white coat to lessen the spread of sepsis. However, now it symbolizes a stepping-stone for students’ achievements into the medical community. As a message of inspiration, he signed off with one of his favorite quotes from The Fiddler on the Roof: ‘Our great writers have given us words of wisdom to be used when hardship must be faced. Life obliges us with hardship, so the words of wisdom should not go to waste.’

The Chair and Professor of the Biochemistry & Genetics department Dr. Andreas Lueck followed the ceremony by presenting the evening’s academic achievement awards. “This class is academically the strongest thus far, and the university is giving out six academic achievement awards for the first time in AUA’s history,” stated Dr. Lueck. The honorees were Nicklaus Bradley, Abhilash Chutei, Izabela Galdyn, Bindu Padmanabha, Edward Pegg, and Nhi Tran. Recipients were honored for their impeccable grade point averages as well as their willingness to offer help to their fellow classmates.