UIW School of Osteopathic Medicine White Coat Ceremony 2022 President's Welcome

July 25, 2022

Dr. Thomas M. Evans welcomes all to the School of Osteopathic Medicine's annual white coat ceremony honoring first-year learners at the start of their medical education.

Good afternoon, everyone. I am honored to be here today and to share this moment with you.

In preparation for today, I have been reflecting on what it means to have a calling. A calling can offer your lives direction and ambitions – certainly important qualities. However, a calling can also draw you to vocations dedicated to the needs of others and with tremendous impact. In fact, we are all here because of a calling issued more than 140 years ago.

As students of the University of the Incarnate Word, the story of our founding is one you will come to know well. In the 1860s, Bishop Claude Dubuis of Galveston issued a call to the women religious of France, asking for their help during a devastating cholera epidemic. I ask you to reflect on the words of Bishop Dubuis, keep them dear to your heart and return to them as you move forward in your journeys. In his plea, he wrote, “Our Lord Jesus Christ, suffering in the persons of a multitude of sick and infirm of every kind, seeks relief at your hands.”

Three young Sisters answered and, with little more than their faith, they journeyed to Texas to assist in any way they could. In their commitment to meeting the needs of the people they were called to serve, they would found a hospital – the first of its kind in the region – an orphanage, schools, and establish what would become the University of the Incarnate Word. Their hands, called by God to offer care and peace, changed our city and the lives of those in it.

There are so many parallels between their story and yours. Like our founders, you are beginning your journeys in the midst of an ongoing public health crisis. Now, thankfully, you are blessed to begin your education and careers in this modern era of fast-moving medical innovation. But, like the Sisters, you will care for patients who are ill, frightened and in need of compassion and hope – all of which you will be ready to provide.

We can learn many lessons from the story of our founders, but principal among them is that a calling is a gift. If we look at Scripture, one Peter, chapter four reminds us that “as each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”

Today, all of us at the University of the Incarnate Word, your family and supporters here in the audience, your UIWSOM faculty and your peers have come together to celebrate your decision to use your gift in this way.

We recognize that this was no easy choice. As future osteopathic physicians, using your gift to serve others will require bravery, dedication, compassion, wisdom and most importantly, faith.

Have faith in your calling, in yourself and in this journey.

I am certain that at its end, each of you will be uniquely prepared to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ and lift the lives of your patients, their families and their communities.

Congratulations, and praised be the Incarnate Word!