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UCF Ready to Welcome First Medical School Class

Twenty-eight days from now, 40 students will be donning their white coats and meeting their cadavers as the first class of medical students at University of Central Florida.

Aug. 3 marks the start for the first class of students at the UCF medical school in Orlando. The 40 students faced stiff competition to get in. By November, more than 4,300 students had already applied for admission, which guarantees a full scholarship worth $160,000 over the four years.

The goal was to provide students with a free education in the hopes that it will take the pressure off of the students and allow them to pursue whatever area of medicine they want.

“If you combine kids who are passionate, who can go after the area they want to go after medically, they're going to be really good at it,” said UCF spokeswoman Zenaida Gonzalez.

The first class is 22 women and 18 men. Ten students are from out-of-state, and 26 come from Florida universities. The first class receives full tuition scholarships, and additional classes will receive some sort of financial support, but those details are still being worked out.

The goal is to become the model for medical education, said Gonzalez.

“We wanted excellent students, but not just excellent students, but students who have a real sense of curiosity and they just don't want to be good doctors, they want to make a difference,” she said. “…We fully expect the next generation of Nobel prize winners, surgeon generals and Mother Teresas out of our program.”

The university has already developed partnerships with area hospitals and research institutes. And it had 800 applicants from the area who wanted to teach or advise at the medical school.

“It was huge,” Gonzalez said. “And it's just another sign that we're just a part of this community.”

The UCF medical school, which was first approved by the state in 2006, is just one of the university system's newest expansions. Florida International University's School of Medicine will also welcome its first class this fall.

Additionally, FIU opened its College of Law just seven years ago in August 2002 and received full accreditation by the American Bar Association in December 2006. And Florida A&M University, which also opened its law school in 2002, has recently been recommended for full accreditation by a committee of the American Bar Association.

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