The Class of 2023 celebrated the White Coat Ceremony in July 2019 to formally begin their careers in medicine. This milestone event attracts physicians and faculty, as well as family and friends of the students.
Of the 70 students in this class, 54 are graduates of 27 different high schools in South Dakota. The rest have strong connections to the state. Lincoln High School, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, contributed 13 members of the class. Roosevelt High School, also in Sioux Falls, landed four of its graduates in the group. Aberdeen Central, Sioux Falls Washington and Brandon Valley high schools each contributed three graduates. Small communities from all regions of South Dakota are represented in this class, including Lemmon, White Lake, Wall, Ipswich, Lead-Deadwood, Hartford, Elk Point-Jefferson, Custer, Armour, Groton and Centerville. One of the South Dakota natives was home schooled.
Sixteen students graduated from high schools outside South Dakota, and most are from states bordering South Dakota, including seven from Minnesota and two each from Iowa and Nebraska. Other states contributing to the Class of 2023 are Oklahoma, Hawaii, Wisconsin and Missouri.
This collection of medical students received their undergraduate educations at 29 different colleges and universities, including eight in South Dakota. The University of South Dakota is the leading contributor, with 16 students. Augustana University has nine graduates in the Class of 2023, and South Dakota State University has eight. Black Hills State University has three, and Northern State University and Mount Marty College each have two. Dakota Wesleyan University and the University of Sioux Falls each contributed one graduate to this class. The leading out-of-state institution contributing students to this class is the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities) with four students.
Of the 16 students who graduated from out-of-state high schools, eight graduated from a university or college in South Dakota before beginning medical school.
*M.D./Ph.D. Program - Class of 2026
If a member of a new medical student’s family is a physician, it is a tradition of the White Coat Ceremony for that physician to place the white coat on the new medical student. This is often a father or a mother placing the white coat on a daughter or a son. Heightened emotion to an experience that is already emotional is often the result.
“The day of the White Coat Ceremony felt surreal because it was the culmination of many years of hard work and the fulfillment of a dream. The moment I received the white coat was grounding because I knew that I had made it, with the help of so many people, especially my mother who is my best friend. We now have an even stronger bond, which is something that I could never have imagined.”
– Maya Gogoi, first-year medical student and daughter of Dr. Archana Chatterjee
“It was one of the happiest days of my life to see my beloved daughter Maya achieve her long-held dream of starting medical school. Welcoming her into the medical community by the symbolic presentation of the white coat was a special honor. Both of us will cherish this moment for as long as we live.”
– Archana Chatterjee, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair, Dept. of Pediatrics and senior associate dean for faculty development at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine