School of Medicine welcomes Class of 2023 with White Coat Ceremony

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. —The Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine welcomed its newest class of students with the annual White Coat Ceremony Friday, July 26, at the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center. 

The Class of 2023 includes students from a variety of backgrounds, including an attorney, a national champion baton twirler, a former coal miner and numerous college athletes. The class includes alumni from Georgetown University, The Ohio State University, University of Kentucky, Washington and Lee University, West Virginia University and many others, as well as eight legacy students, meaning one or both parents are Marshall School of Medicine alumni. Other interesting statistics include the following:

  • 79% are West Virginia residents
  • 56% are males; 44% are females
  • 88% were science majors
  • The average age is 24 years old

The White Coat Ceremony, during which incoming students receive their first white coats, stethoscopes and medical instruments, was first introduced at Marshall in 1996. It is considered a rite of passage for first-year students and is designed to instill the values of professionalism, humanism and compassionate care.

The ceremony’s keynote address was delivered by Nadim Bou Zgheib, M.D., associate professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and a board-certified gynecologist and director of gynecologic oncology for Marshall Health and Edwards Comprehensive Cancer Center. Bou Zgheib is the 2018 recipient of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation’s Leonard Tow Award, which recognizes faculty members who demonstrate clinical excellence and outstanding compassion in the delivery of medical care and who show respect for patients, their families and health care colleagues.

Other speakers included John Castillo, president of the Class of 2022; Bobby L. Miller, M.D., vice dean for medical student education; and Wesley Wright, a fourth-year medical student and president of the Gold Humanism in Medicine Honor Society.

Since 2006, the Touma family, including Joseph B. Touma, M.D., a retired ear, nose and throat specialist and former chair of the Marshall University Board of Governors, and his wife, Omayma T. Touma, M.D., retired medical director of the Cabell-Huntington Health Department, have generously donated funds to provide each student with a stethoscope. Their son, B. Joseph Touma, M.D., presented the gifts during the ceremony. More than 115 School of Medicine alumni, family and friends sponsored the white coats and medical instruments for the Class of 2023.


Media Contact:  Sheanna Spence, Director of External Affairs, School of Medicine, 304-691-1639

Date Posted: Monday, July 29, 2019