Next Generation of Physicians Celebrated at White Coat Ceremony

The University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (KYCOM) officially welcomed the Class of 2026 at the 25th annual White Coat Ceremony on Saturday, September 17, at the Appalachian Wireless Arena. 

A rite of passage for first-year medical students, the White Coat Ceremony instills the values of professionalism, humanism and compassionate care. Each of the 144 students was welcomed individually and participated in the ceremony by pledging their commitment and dedication to the profession. 

KYCOM Dean Joe Kingery, D.O. MBA, FACOFP, FAAFP, explained the importance of the commitment to providing compassionate and competent patient care to the incoming class.

“You, the members of the Class of 2026, will increasingly be granted significant and humbling power and responsibility in your relations with your fellow human beings. This will include the health and illness of their bodies, minds and spirits,” said Kingery. “Your patients will have their trust, health and lives in your hands. You must recognize this privilege and understand you are no longer just students.”

Keynote speaker and KYCOM alum Frederick Stine VI, D.O., MHA, Pikeville Medical Center pediatrician, co-medical director for the Mettu Children’s Hospital, and assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at KYCOM spoke about the significance of failing and offered his advice to the students.  

“Failure is the essential prerequisite for success. Persistence in the face of failure only works when we learn from our previous failures. If life were all smooth sailing, if we never encountered setbacks, that would be a sign of stagnation,” said Stine. “Remember to be curious, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t forget, fear and bravery are partners, you can’t be brave without first being afraid. Remember to dream big, you are unique and your dreams are yours to dream. You don’t get what you wish for, you get what you work for, so work hard for what you want.”

Class of 2025 KYCOM student Tara Von Mach, OMS II, president of the KYCOM Student Government Association, welcomed the class to the community and focused her comments on the importance of service.

“The White Coat represents the immense privilege to take care of others. It means not just improving the health of our patients but also improving the lives of their families and their communities,” said Von Mach. “You are now a part of a community of leaders in a community of helpers. You are in an incredible place to study medicine.”