Published Monday, July 17, 2017 | 5:54 p.m.
Updated 1 hour, 29 minutes ago
The long-awaited UNLV School of Medicine kicked off today with members of the inaugural class honored with stethoscopes at a ceremony.
The 60 students began orientation and will get into their first course Tuesday with emergency response and population studies.
“So many people have worked so hard over the years to get to this day for the start of the first medical school class,” UNLV President Len Jessup told the crowd at the one hour event. “It’s unbelievable.”
Barbara Atkinson, the school’s dean, was noticeably absent. She is hospitalized with an undisclosed illness.
“She really wanted to be here. No one has worked harder than her or was more excited about today, so it was tough for her,” Jessup said. “It would have been nice for her to see everything physically today, but I spoke with her this morning and she is very excited about how far we’ve come.”
Many of the students already have a strong connection with Atkinson.
“I’m very sorry that Atkinson couldn’t have been with us today, because she is the heart and soul of the program,” student Alex Ma said. “You could really feel her presence was missed today.”
Although missed at the ceremony, Jessup assured that Atkinson’s absence would not be a long-term event.
“She’s making really good progress and now she’s up and moving around, so it’s only a matter of time for her physical therapy for however long that takes,” he said.
The class of 60 students were chosen from more than 900 applicants. There are 31 women and 29 men, all Nevada residents. Each has…