Skip to content
My Word: UCF's medical school -- at last
On Monday we begin a new chapter in Central Florida history by welcoming the charter class of students to the University of Central Florida's College of Medicine. They are here because of their enterprising spirits, passion for medicine, commitment to excellence and determination to make a difference in the lives of their patients.
They also are here because of the opportunities provided by our community's generosity. Our first-of-its-kind program bestowed full scholarships to every student in the charter class. They were funded by $7 million in community donations from across the region. This is unprecedented. The Association of American Medical Colleges says UCF is the first U.S. medical school to provide four-year full scholarships to an entire class.
Our community has captured the nation's attention. Since we announced our scholarship program, institutions such as the Yale School of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and others have announced plans to assist their students with the cost of medical school.
Our vision is to become the nation's premier 21st-century college of medicine, and we're off to a great start. We received 4,307 applications from around the country, meaning that for this year, UCF's med school may be the most selective in the country.
Our students come from all walks of life. The diversity of the class is critical to our success. Our students will be taking care of all of us, and as they learn the profession, they must learn to work with, and care for, the spectrum of humanity.
We need cultural, racial, gender, socioeconomic and geographic diversity. Our students will learn as much from each other as they learn from the faculty and their patients.
The class is slightly more than half-female, and 40 percent of the students are minority. They speak 15 languages. Ten students come from out of state, and having students from diverse geographic regions enhances the education of all.
With the best and brightest students, faculty, researchers and health-care partners, we are well-positioned to serve the many needs of our Central Florida "city-state" region.
The credit for our success belongs to the vision of UCF leaders President John Hitt, Provost and Executive Vice President Terry Hickey and our Board of Trustees, the resolve of our many elected officials, the generosity of our community, business and health-care partners and the dedication of our faculty and staff members in creating an innovative educational experience.
The opening of our medical school is not the end of the journey — it's the beginning, and I look forward to many more memorable days to come.
Deborah German, a medical doctor, is dean of the University of Central Florida's College of Medicine.