What: UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson White Coat Ceremony
When: Friday, July 29, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Where: Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd., Tucson, and Facebook Live www.facebook.com/UAZMedTucson/live
TUCSON, Arizona — Nearly 120 University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson students will take part in a White Coat Ceremony to welcome the Class of 2026 on July 29. The ceremony will be held in person at Centennial Hall from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The event recognizes medical students’ entry into medicine with their first physician’s white coat, the garment of their future profession.
“We look forward to celebrating the Class of 2026 as they enter the profession of medicine during the White Coat Ceremony. It is a particularly exciting time for the class to be entering the profession of medicine,” said Kevin Moynahan, MD, the college’s vice dean for education and a professor of medicine. “The COVID 19 pandemic made us understand how important these in-person events are in building a collaborative community at the college. The pandemic also highlighted the importance of health care personnel and the dedication these individuals have to their patients and communities.”
The White Coat Ceremony is considered a rite of passage in most U.S. medical schools. It has been a tradition for incoming UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson medical students since the college held its first event in 1995.
Celia P. Valenzuela, MD, a Class of 2002 alumna, will be the guest speaker. Dr. Valenzuela is the interim vice dean and assistant dean of diversity, equity and inclusion, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology, and the residency program director of obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Valenzuela earned her medical degree and completed residency training in obstetrics and gynecology in the College of Medicine – Tucson. She is passionate about bringing more underrepresented students into the medical profession by reaching potential physicians at the early stages of their education. Dr. Valenzuela is driven by a desire to promote educational excellence and contribute to achieving equity in academic medicine.
Class of 2026
The Class of 2026 is 57% female and 43% male, with ages ranging from 21 to 32. Of the 120 incoming students, 103 are from Arizona, 37 are from Tucson and 20% are first-generation college students.
Students participating in the White Coat Ceremony include:
- Angela Rosé Monetathchi grew up near Palm Springs, California, with two healers in the family. Her grandfather was a urologist, and her father’s uncle was a Comanche medicine man who practiced in Tucson. After obtaining a degree in psychology at Chapman University in Orange, California, she decided to follow in her relatives’ footsteps and pursue a degree in medicine.
- Atehkeng (Ateh) Zinkeng, PSM, earned a bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory science from the University of Buea in Cameroon prior to moving to Tucson. At UArizona, he enrolled in the Applied Biosciences Program and earned a master’s degree in diagnostic laboratory sciences. After several years in the industry, Zinkeng enrolled in the College of Medicine – Tucson’s MD-PhD program to pursue his passion for medicine and research.
- Eddie Vargas is a first-generation college student and Tucsonan who has been connected to UArizona since childhood, when his family received care at University Medical Center, then a part of the College of Medicine – Tucson. Vargas earned his bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and cognitive science from UArizona, gaining hands-on lab experience studying Parkinson’s disease under the mentorship of Julie Miller, PhD, associate professor of neuroscience.
Parking, seating and other general information about the White Coat Ceremony can be found at medicine.arizona.edu/admissions/annual-event/white-coat-ceremony-class-2026.