White Coat Ceremony signals commitment to the art of healing

One hundred and sixty future physicians from the School of Osteopathic Medicine received their white coats in a ceremony in Hobson Performing Arts Center on Friday, Sept. 13.

The white coat ceremony has become a celebrated tradition to mark the beginning of a student’s entry into medical education.

Dr. Brian Kessler, second dean of the Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine, encouraged the Class of 2027 to view their white coat as a physical call to pursue responsibility, compassion, integrity and knowledge.

“This white coat signifies a commitment, not only to the science of medicine, but to the art of healing,” said Kessler. 

This event marks 10 years since welcoming the first students into the medical school back in 2013. Campbell University has since graduated more than 1,000 physicians, many of them choosing to remain in the state and practice medicine in underserved areas. 

Former Campbell University president Jerry M. Wallace was the key architect behind the dream to bring the state’s fifth medical school to Buies Creek. He spoke of the intentional decision to build the school away from a bigger city.

“We were born in this little place in Harnett County.  We want to serve the underserved,” Wallace said.  “We want to welcome the world here and experience what it’s like to live in a rural community and impact our world.” 

While the white coat may represent the embodiment of Campbell’s mission to love and serve our community, for Dr. Wallace, it’s far more personal.  On a recent hospital visit with his wife, he encountered a Campbell medical student, proudly wearing her white coat.

“She was kind, she was confident. She demonstrated humility, a willingness to take a risk and to ask questions,” he said. “This is what it’s all about.  When I saw that white coat, I saw Campbell University.”