Weill Cornell Medical College Welcomes Extraordinarily Diverse Class of 2004

Aug 22, 2000


A Peace Corps volunteer who spent three years in west Africa, a former member of the Chicago Bears, dancers and choreographers, enough musicians to start an orchestra—such are the talents and diversity of the 101 incoming first-year students of Weill Cornell Medical College, who will attend Opening Day ceremonies on Wednesday, August 23.

Selected from an applicant pool of 6,344, the 101 students come from 23 different states and were born in 14 different countries. Forty-nine percent are women, and 13 percent are underrepresented minorities. They represent 44 different undergraduate colleges, from Brown to Wesleyan; one student has a Ph.D. and one a J.D.

Many of the Class of 2004 have volunteered, worked, or studied abroad in places like Nepal, India, China, Spain, Paraguay, Greece, and Brazil. There are flutists, violinists, pianists, guitarists, a drummer, a cellist, a bassoonist, a trumpet player, an alto saxophonist, a harmonium player, and several singers. Some have created stained-glass works, watercolors, ink drawings, photography, or published poems. There are members and leaders of varsity sports teams: crew, fencing, football, hockey, field hockey, tennis, volleyball, rugby, equestrianship, and cycling.

Former occupations of the students include sign language interpreter, elementary and high school teachers, Congressional interns, leader of a service project in Appalachia, a land surveyor in Australia, a zookeeper's assistant, a certified nursing assistant, a flamenco instructor, an analyst for a consulting firm, Webmasters, and a vice president of a university bank.

Seventy-eight percent of them are science majors, and 22 percent are from non-science fields. Many of them have completed an honors thesis, while some are co-authors of published papers and abstracts. Fourteen of them are enrolled in the Tri-Institutional M.D.-Ph.D. Program with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and The Rockefeller University.

On Wednesday, the students will attend a full day of introductions, addresses, ceremonies, and a reception with older students, administrators, and faculty. Like other recent Opening Day ceremonies, this one will be preceded by a "White Coat" ceremony, in which the new medical students will be inducted into the privileges, responsibilities, and collegial spirit of the clinical community.

Speaking at the White Coat ceremony at 2 p.m. will be E. Darracott Vaughan, Jr., M.D., Chairman of the Department of Urology and James J. Colt Professor of Urology. The Opening Exercises at 3 p.m. will be presided over by Hunter R. Rawlings III, President of Cornell University, and Antonio M. Gotto, Jr., M.D., D.Phil., Dean of the Medical College. The keynote speaker at the Opening Exercises will be M. Flint Beal, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Neurology.