Members of the PA White Coat Class of 2024 hold up their jackets

EVMS welcomed 86 students in the Physician Assistant Class of 2024 during the White Coat Ceremony held Friday, Jan. 7.

“Congratulations on the accomplishments that have made it possible for you to be here today and welcome to EVMS,” said Alfred Abuhamad, MD, Interim President, Provost and Dean of the School of Medicine, to the new students during the ceremony. “You will get the superb training that you deserve. We will succeed in our mission if you become physician assistants with high ethical and moral values who are leaders in their communities and provide compassionate care to all in need.”

Program Director Kimberly Dempsey, MPA, PA-C (MPA '03), also welcomed the students. “Over the next 28 months, the program will be a challenge to most of you,” said Dr. Dempsey in her remarks. “It may also be a bit of a challenge for your friends and family, as we will be keeping you quite busy. But in May 2024 you will have earned a rewarding career and a new way of life for yourselves and your families.”

Because of the omicron variant, this year’s ceremony was a hybrid event, with students attending in person but their loved ones watching the program via livestream. Prior to the White Coat Ceremony, the students attending several days of orientation programming. For many, setting foot on the EVMS campus was the culmination of years of focus and determination.

“I’ve worked in an underserved emergency department for the last three years,” says Ebony Taylor, PA Class of 2024. “I’ve worked the whole pandemic, and I’ve never wanted to help people more than I do now.”

Kenneth Dixon, another student in the new class, has been a paramedic for more than 20 years. “It feels great to finally be in this moment,” he says. “It’s something I’ve worked really hard for.”

See additional photos from the event. Watch a video overview.