GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new class was welcomed into Michigan State University’s College of Medicine Sunday afternoon.

The 2021 matriculation and white coat ceremony introduced the entering class at the DeVos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids.

Following the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” medical professionals took the podium to welcome hundreds of students to the MSU College of Human Medicine and give them their white coats.

Dr. Aron Sousa, interim dean of the College of Human Medicine, made the opening remarks at Sunday’s ceremony. He says the white coats help students make the connection between science and humans.

“It is a marker of science,” Sousa said. “We want to help them understand how to work with patients as people, but understand that the base about what we do is about the science.”

Sousa says it’s a great opportunity for students’ families to see them receiving the coats and learn more about the journey they’re about to go on.

“It takes a lot of work. Medical school is hard work, we ask them to work 60 to 80 hours a week, so it’s a big commitment,” Sousa said.

The full ceremony can be viewed online.