As freshman medical student Reggie Ward strolled across the stage to accept his pin, he could hear family members joyfully shout his name. At the end of the ceremony, hearty felicitations were all around, as the Wards and other families, friends, and faculty congratulated the Class of 2011 and officially welcomed its members to the study of medicine at the Miller School.

“It’s exciting. I’m ready to work hard to finish up the first four years,” said Ward as he stood with his parents and brother after the pinning ceremony. The event also signaled the near completion of the first year of medical school for the 179 students who had been selected to join the Miller School from 4,500 applicants.

The March 7 ceremony began when the members of the Class of 2011—white coat-clad and led by society leaders carrying flags celebrating their 15 academic societies—marched into a tent pitched on the lawn of the Schoninger Research Quadrangle.

The eighth annual ceremony was renamed the John G. Clarkson Freshman Pinning Ceremony in 2006 for the former dean, who was also recognized at the event. Students helped plan the ceremony that was chaired by second-year student Melissa Diamond.

Before getting the pins that symbolize the mission of the Miller School, students were congratulated by Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., and encouraged by guest speaker Myron “Mike” L. Weisfeldt, M.D., chairman of the Department of Medicine at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the William Osler Professor of Medicine, and a mentor to Goldschmidt. They were also urged to emulate the qualities of Mark T. O’Connell, M.D., Miller School senior associate dean for medical education, who received the evening’s Humanism in Medicine Award.

In the class, 31 students belong to three new academic societies—Osler, Apgar, and Herophilus—composed of students from the Miller School of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University. They are the first students who will complete all four years of medical school at the Boca Raton campus.