An audience of several hundred met in a theater Thursday night to watch a cast of dozens dressed in plain white coats recite a speech from ancient Greece.
The spectators couldn't have been more moved.
“I am proud, but I'm a little sad, too; I don't know why,” said one - Gayle Christian of Gulfport, mother of Ana Gayle Christian, a “cast member” who raised her hand, spoke a few words and, presto, became a newly-minted medical student that night in the Belhaven Center for the Arts.
Ana Gayle's mom, along with her father Peter and cousin Claire Kelly, drove to Jackson from the Gulf Coast to see Ana Gayle participate in the 2016 White Coat Ceremony for the School of Medicine's Class of 2020.
During this annual rite, virtually every one of the 145 newly-enrolled students were present to slip on the short white coat representing their trainee status, receive their gold Humanism in Medicine pins, and repeat, as one, a Covenant for Medical Education, as well as the Greek-inspired Hippocratic Oath, wherein they pledged to “be loyal to the profession of medicine” and “exercise my art solely for the cure of my patients.”