JOPLIN, Mo. — Students were taking some of their first steps to becoming the next generation of doctors.

Kansas City University – Joplin held its white coating ceremony at Joplin High School Today.

The ceremony is meant to symbolize the beginning of the students journey to become physicians.

Around 330 students received their white coats from KCU faculty and guest doctors.

Half made up the class of 2026, the other class of 2025, who had their white coating ceremony canceled twice over the course of the pandemic.

“It is very exciting because we can actually help them take that first major step to medical school, once they got admitted. This and graduation are the two things that we truly live for at the medical school,” says Ken Heiles, KCU-Joplin Campus Dean.

“I’m so, so grateful that my friends and family get to be here to see this huge milestone. This represents so much to all of us, it’s a huge culmination of so much, many years of education and many more to come, and so excited.” says Madison Nagel, KCU-Joplin Class of 2026.

The white coating ceremony tradition is still relatively new.

It was started back in 1993 by a physician at the University of Columbia.