White coats a beginning -- but also an achievement

by John Keenan, UNMC public relations | September 12, 2013

Image with caption: Donald Kuehler, M1, at the College of Medicine White Coat ceremony.

Donald Kuehler, M1, at the College of Medicine White Coat ceremony.

When Monica Krause crossed the stage to put on her white coat, her mother Susan beamed.

Krause and her husband, Bill, were among the 133 families that packed the Joslyn Art Museum's Witherspoon Concert Hall during the August ceremony.

Monica was one of the College of Medicine students, class of 2017, who received white coats in what Gerald Moore, M.D., the college's senior associate dean for academic affairs, called "a pact between instructors and students as they enter the profession."

For images from some of UNMC's 2013 ceremonies, click here.

Krause spoke about her daughter, and about watching her become part of a long tradition, about a ceremony that epitomizes and celebrates the culmination of years of hard work.

For video of the College of Medicine's white coat ceremony, click here.

"She has wanted to be a doctor for many years," she said. "To share in this moment is exciting."

Sandra Crittenden, mother of student Jordan Crittenden, certainly agreed. She said the event was one of the most important days of her life.

"This is a big step," she said, unable to stop smiling. "It seems like there is a long way still to go -- and yet, it took a long time to get here."

Mike McGahan, M.D., class of 1986, sponsored one of the white coats that were handed out to the students on Friday -- alumni sponsoring students' new white coats is a College of Medicine tradition.

Perhaps the coat Dr. McGahan sponsored went to his son, Benjamin McGahan, who crossed the stage Friday as his father watched.

"Obviously, I'm very proud of him," Dr. McGahan said.

"I want to give him a whole lot of advice for the pathway," he admitted. "I can give him some -- but some of it, there's no way to give it to him."

Mary Pat Kuehler, a nurse, was there with seven members of her family to watch her son Donald take the first step on his road to becoming a doctor.

Besides Mary Pat's husband, Francis, all of Donald's sisters and brothers were there. Most had driven nearly 100 miles from Columbus, though one brother had come nearly six times as far, arriving from Denver to watch his brother put that coat on.

"It's a new beginning, but it's the culmination of something he has aimed for since he was probably two or three years old," she said.

"We're really just happy for him," she said. "It's really his achievement -- we just get to stand back and applaud him."

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