The Commonwealth Medical College - unique in many ways

The Commonwealth Medical College holds Inaugural White Coat Ceremony

Monday, May 16, 2020

Scranton, Pennsylvania – On Sunday, May 15, 2020, officials of The Commonwealth Medical College (TCMC) held an inaugural White Coat Ceremony at 10:30am at The Mellow Theater at Lackawanna College in Scranton. This formal presentation of white coats to third year medical students signified the transition from the study of the basic sciences portion of medicine to clinical health sciences.  The symbolic event impresses upon the students the importance of professionalism and their obligation in the doctor-patient relationship. This historic rite of passage also marks the move of TCMC’s charter class of 2013 into their regional campuses of Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Williamsport where they will live and train with physicians in the community for their third and fourth years of study. 

The White Coat Ceremony marked another first in the history of The Commonwealth Medical College.  “This event has significant meaning for our clinical faculty and our third year medical students as they transition to clinical care and move into their regional campuses to train full-time with the clinical medical community, stated Maurice Clifton, MD, MSEd,  acting dean and senior associate dean for academic affairs.  “As each student personally receives their white coat, they will be reminded in the presence of family, guests, faculty members and physician leaders of why they chose the medical profession - to not only take care of patients but to care for patients,” Dr. Clifton continued.

To commemorate the beginning of their clinical rotations and patient care, each medical student was cloaked with his or her white coat by members of the medical community who believe in the students’ ability to carry on the noble tradition of being a physician.  The hands-on experience reminded physicians-in-training about the importance of compassionate care for the patient as well as the skill of cutting edge medicine.  Then dressed in white, the Class of 2013 recited the Oath of Professionalism which they took when they began medical school in 2009 as a reminder of the importance of professionalism and their obligation in the doctor-patient relationship.  

The ceremony began with a welcome by Robert W. Naismith, PhD, Chair, TCMC Board of Trustees followed by an inspirational greeting by Ralph Schmeltz, MD, president of the Pennsylvania Medical Society.  Joseph Bannon, MD, FACS, FASCRS, TCMC clinical faculty member; section chief of general surgery; and vice chairman, department of surgery, Regional Hospital of Scranton, delivered the keynote address.  Students also received a “Humanism in Medicine” lapel pin courtesy of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

The White Coat Ceremony was established by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation who generously provided the funding for this ceremony. The Foundation’s mission is to perpetuate the tradition of the caring doctor by emphasizing the importance of the relationship between the practitioner and the patient. Their objective is to help physicians-in-training become doctors who combine the high tech skills of cutting edge medicine with the high touch skills of effective communication, empathy and compassion. The first White Coat Ceremony was initiated in 1993 at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Currently, a White Coat Ceremony or similar rite of passage takes place in more than 90% of U.S. schools to commemorate the noble tradition of being a physician and emphasizes the bonding process in the doctor-patient relationship. 

For more information about TCMC, go to

Media contact:
Anne Green, manager, Marketing Communications
Phone: (570) 687-9703
[email protected] 

TCMC press release archive