After years of hard work, applying to medical schools, interviews and waiting for letters of acceptance, 180 students took the stage at Buddy Holly Hall Friday afternoon to receive their white coats from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center’s School of Medicine White Coat. Ceremony.
“The sun always shines here in West Texas, and today is your day, your place, your time,” said Dr. Steven Berk, Dean of the School of Medicine. “Your medical career begins now.”
Of the 180 students selected from 5,000 applications, at least three students crossed paths.
Heidi Gonzalez, Avery Garcia and Joselin Garcia, all from Denver City, graduated from the same high school and are returning to the same school.
All three chose a different path when they entered university, but their passion for serving the community and their love for medicine have brought them back together.
All three students agreed that donning their white coat represents not only their oath as a doctor, but also the journey they’ve taken to get to where they are.
“I think it symbolizes all the hard work, all the obstacles we’ve overcome, and all the time and lessons we’ve learned to put into this,” Avery said. “It is like a reflection of all our mentors, educators, family and friends who have helped us on this journey. But at the same time it is also a kind of sense of responsibility. It is your first step to learn how to help people and change their lives for the better.”
Following in the footsteps of the previous class, the students decided that instead of taking the Hippocratic Oath, they would create their own based on their values and understanding of the journey ahead.
“With honor and gratitude, we, the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine class of 2026, remain steadfast in our continued journey to pursue excellence in medicine,” the oath said.
The students promised to always remember that each of them is a member of a patient-centered team, while also acknowledging that there are limitations to their knowledge.
The students also pledged to view health as holistic and to provide evidence-based care with respect for patient autonomy and for a patient’s background, beliefs, and values.
“We appreciate the sacrifice of those who have enabled us to seize this opportunity to improve healthcare for future generations,” the oath said. “Celebrate the art of medicine as a perpetual enterprise in which we embody the role of a lifelong learner, educator and innovator.”
Because this Dr. Berk’s 17th White Coat Ceremony, he oversaw his 16-year tenure as Dean of the TTUHSC School of Medicine.
Because he was dean at a medical school for so long, Dr. Berk to impart some wisdom to the new students.
“The best advice I would give them is to find the joy in medicine, find the joy in being in medical school,” he said. “Later, find the specific passion of these special fields of medicine that would match their interests and their fundamental personality.”