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Secchia Center set to welcome 100 medical students | News

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Secchia Center set to welcome 100 medical students
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)- The next generation of medical professionals will soon start class in Grand Rapids.

The white coat ceremony is the symbolic beginning of the four year journey into the medical profession.

Dean Marsha D. Rappley, M.D. formally welcomed the inaugural class of 200 first year medical students to the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine Sunday afternoon at DeVos Performance Hall in downtown Grand Rapids. Half of the class will take courses in Grand Rapids at the Secchia Center and the other half will attend classes on the MSU campus in East Lansing.

"This is a very exciting day for us," says Dr. Rappley. "This is the day where we welcome our students to their first year of med school."

Dr. Rappley added that the students come from all across the country and some of their families came from all over the world to sit in support at the white coat ceremony.

"Seventy-eight percent of our students are from Michigan and the other come from a whole variety of places," says Dr. Rappley.

Some of the future doctors getting fitted for their white coats were from West Michigan. Carolina Martinez attended Potters House High School, then Calvin College. The 23-year old says she's excited to be one of 100 students who will take courses at the new Secchia Center.

"I guess today was kind of the day that solidifies it all," says Martinez. "I'm here and this is a very exciting moment."

The ceremony was bittersweet for Martinez because she lost her brother in a car accident this past February.

"Of course this is a moment that all of us would have liked to share together, but at the same time I know that this was something that he was looking forward to me doing, and he supported me every step of the way," she says.

Even though Carolina couldn't save her brother's life, her mission now is to save other people's lives.  She symbolizes the type of students Dr. Rappley hopes to graduate from the Secchia Center in four years.

"My hope is that these [students] will be the leaders of the future," says Dr. Rappley. "That they help us solve these problems that our healthcare system faces in this nation. Many nations out-class us in the well-being and the health of their nation, and we need to change that. These young people will help us do that.

The 180,000 square foot Secchia Center cost $90 million to build. A VIP ribbon cutting ceremony at the Center will take place on September 10, and a public open house is scheduled for September 11. A fundraising gala will take place September 14, then classes will begin.

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