Some students in the University of South Florida Health Morsani College of Medicine experienced the "luck of the Irish" this past Friday, as they got their first choice of hospital where they'll do their residencies.
It was all part of "Match Day," where students open an envelope that sets them on their career path for the next three to seven years, depending on their specialty.
While some medical schools simply gather their students in a room and have them all open their envelopes simultaneously, USF Health has turned Match Day into a party, this time with a St. Patrick's Day theme, "Luck o' the Match."
162 students in Tampa and Allentown, PA - where USF has a partnership program with Lehigh Valley Health Network - were among the more than 31,000 students nationwide who found out their fates on Friday. It was the largest such class ever, according to the National Resident Matching Program.
Students once again gathered with families and friends at Ulele restaurant along Tampa's Riverwalk for the event. Some opted to open their envelope in privacy before the formal ceremony, but others opted to be called to the stage to announce their destination to a crowd of about 400 people.
"This is up close and personal," according to Dr. Charles Lockwood, Sr. VP of USF Health and the Dean of the Morsani College of Medicine. "And I think it's evidence of how cohesive our school is, how comfortable the students are with each other, with their faculty, that they're willing to share such a personal thing in front of 400 of their closest friends."
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn handed the first envelope to Jewel Brown, who will be staying at USF to do her residency in obstetrics and gynecology.
"It is a special day, especially for these young medical students and their families. I mean this has been a long journey, now they get to find out where that next chapter is," said Buckhorn, who's married to Dr. Catherine Lynch, Assoc. VP of USF Health's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
"We've loved having them here in the Tampa Bay area, we've loved having them at USF. We're hopeful that those that get selected to come back do so, and those that spent time here but are going away for another residency come back to Tampa," he added.
You can see additional photos and videos from Match Day at USF Health's webpage.