Four years ago, when Jeslin Kera toured the UCF College of Medicine as an aspiring student, she dreamed of seeing her face in one of the class portraits hanging in the medical education building. So Monday, as Kera watched UCF President Dale Whittaker unveil the official portrait of the Class of 2022, — her face among the 120 future physicians in the med school’s 10th class — she felt the realization of a dream.
“At the time I knew I didn’t want to go any other medical school, and I remember seeing the photos four years ago and planning where I would stand if I ever got to be in the picture,” she said. “Being in the picture is definitely a dream come true.”
The official class portrait is taken at the White Coat Ceremony, when first-year students are welcomed to medical school as colleagues in healthcare. Since the College of Medicine’s Charter Class enrolled in 2009, nine class photos have been hung on the second floor outside the Harriet F. Ginsburg Health Sciences Library.
The designated wall had space for 10 framed portraits. Dr. Deborah German, vice president for health affairs and dean, said every day she walked past the wall, she dreamed of seeing it filled with class portraits. On Monday, the 10th portrait was hung in a brief ceremony attended by Whittaker, UCF vice presidents and Class of 2022 students.
“Today is an exciting for me,” German said. “I walk up these stairs every day and look at these pictures as I walk by. I knew there would be a day when this wall would be full, and I knew that the 10th class would be a special class.”
German said the occasion was a milestone for many reasons.
“The medical school is beginning its second decade. The 10th class began their medical school journey this year. This is also the first year for our fifth president and the first year of the new Academic Health Sciences Center, so it seemed fitting to celebrate these milestones as this is like a turning point for everything we’re doing out here.”
To resounding applause from the students, Whittaker and German pulled the draping from the class picture. Once the formalities were over, students excitedly took turns snapping pictures of the portrait with their cellphones.
“Seeing my picture on the wall makes me feel like I am part of something that’s bigger than myself,” said Class of 2022 student John Weigand. “It feels great today, being part of the 10th class at such an exciting time for the school, with the new hospital coming soon. I am looking forward to being able to not only learn, but also to contribute and make a difference in the lives of the patients.”
For a video version of this story, visit https://youtu.be/aP19UjERT44
Read more about the Class of 2022 here.