WVSOM alumnus in first graduating class to speak at White Coat Ceremony

First-year medical students at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) will soon take part in a ceremony that officially recognizes them as student doctors.

Students in the Class of 2021 will receive their white coats and make a commitment to a life of health care service in front of family and friends during the Convocation and White Coat Ceremony. The event will take place at 9:30 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 26, at the Conference Center located in the WVSOM Student Center.  

John Manchin II, D.O., will act as this year’s keynote speaker. Manchin is a partner, chief executive officer and president of the Manchin Clinic in Farmington, the Manchin Clinic of Bridgeport and Manchin Clinic South in Fairmont, W.Va. He is affiliated with Ruby Memorial Hospital and Monongalia General Hospital in Morgantown, W.Va. Manchin has served as a member of the WVSOM Board of Governors since 2009 and has been a WVSOM adjunct assistant professor of family practice since 1990.

The 1978 WVSOM graduate was a member of the first graduating class, which comprised of 36 students. This year, 207 first-year students will be coated.

One of those students will be Zachary Bernhard, who will be coated by his father. He said he anticipates the ceremony will be a milestone moment — one he will never forget.

“Even though gaining an offer of acceptance is an incredible feeling, it is really the white coat that provides that sense of arrival for medical students. That’s often what I have heard from others and I expect I’ll feel the same way,” Bernhard said. “While the ceremony marks only the beginning of a long journey, my white coat will reflect 23 years of hard work that I’m extremely proud of.”

The annual White Coat Ceremony is part of WVSOM’s Alumni Weekend hosted by the Alumni Association. Graduates return to campus for continuing medical education and other events including a barbecue and reunion dinner.

There will be limited seating and tickets are required for admission to the ceremony. Tickets are no longer available for this event. Visitors without tickets may view the ceremony via live stream on campus in the alumni center, technology building – second-year classroom, or the main building classrooms.