School of Medicine welcomes Class of 2026

The Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine welcomed its newest class of medical students to campus last week with a series of orientation activities, followed by the official start of classes today.

The 80 incoming medical students embark on a four-year journey to become physicians. At Marshall, an integrated core curriculum during the first two years helps students understand the language of medicine. During years three and four, students apply the knowledge they have acquired as they learn to care for patients.

The Class of 2026 includes students from a variety of backgrounds, including two M.D./Ph.D. students, one student with a Ph.D. and two students with Pharm.D. degrees. The class represents a diverse cohort from 32 colleges and universities across the country, as well as eight legacy students, meaning one or both parents are Marshall School of Medicine alumni. Other interesting statistics about the class include:

  • 74% are from West Virginia.
  • 12% entered from Marshall’s B.S./M.D. program.
  • 84% were science majors.
  • 16% are first-generation college graduates.
  • The average age is 24 years old.

Orientation activities included a variety of team building exercises, including a poverty simulation; a cupcake contest at Huntington’s Kitchen; adventures at Heritage Farm; and Olympic-style games on Prindle Field. Students were introduced to their assigned “learning communities,” which are student-led networks that foster a dedicated support system for medical students. Throughout the week, the students learned more about the structure and format of medical school and were introduced to the more than two dozen student organizations active at the School of Medicine.

Students capped off the week with the traditional White Coat Ceremony, sponsored by the Dr. Ali and Mrs. Corinna Oliashirazi family, on Aug. 6. The White Coat Ceremony, in which incoming students receive their first white coats, was first introduced at Marshall in 1996 and is considered a rite of passage for students designed to instill the values of professionalism, humanism and compassionate care. Jacob T. Kilgore, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and pediatric infectious disease specialist at Marshall Health, delivered the keynote address and served as the honorary cloaker. Kilgore was the recipient of the 2022 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Faculty Award.

Drs. Joseph B. and Omayma T. Touma generously donated funds to provide each student with a top-of-the-line stethoscope. More than 100 additional School of Medicine alumni, family and friends sponsored the white coats as well as medical instruments received during orientation for the Class of 2026.

For news and information about the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, follow us on Twitter @MUSOMWV, like us on Facebook or visit jcesom.marshall.edu.