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The Gold-Headed Cane Award

Sponsor: Dean’s Office

Presentation includes: Framed Medallion 

This award recognizes a medical student who shows exemplary interest in and dedication to patient care. 

Nomination and Selection Process:

Submit the name of a medical student who embodies the above criteria, and a one- to two-paragraph summary supporting your nomination.  Graduating medical students nominate and select the recipient of this award.


The original gold-headed cane had been handed down from physician to physician as early as the 17th century; it was deposited in the early 19th century in the Royal College of Physicians. The cane represents the “appeal to be worthy to serve the suffering, so beautifully that the cane is rescued from obscurity to walk again, a symbol, the outward and visible sign of the attributes of mind and heart of the true physician.”

From the Foreword by William J. Kerr, M.D., to The Gold-Headed Cane by William MacMichael, M.D.

A replica of the early gold-headed cane was designed and donated by the late Dr. Clifford C. Snyder, professor emeritus and associate dean, and the cane is displayed at the Health Sciences Library.  The Gold-Headed Cane Award, a long-time tradition at many medical schools, is presented to the senior medical student whom has shown exemplary interest in patient care.

Past Recipients:

2022 Sarah Kinsey
2021 Samuel West Wilkinson
2020 Carson J. Mills, M.S.
2019 Jorgen Peter Madsen
2018 Peter Sundwall
2017 Wesley Blaine Godfrey
2016 Gregory Douglas Phillips, Jr.
2015 Adam Eli Bracken
2014 Melissa Velez See
2013 Laura Elizabeth Fink
2012 Jeffrey Michael Norris
2011 Peter Romney Jackson
2010 Andrea Clark Esplin
2009 Mark Corry
2009 Lindsay Wilson
2008 Eric Glissmeyer
2008 Michael Rich
2007 David Gordon Liddle
2006 Marcus Buchanan
2005 Richard Gurgel
2005 Jose Vega
2004 Marion Bishop
2004 Miguel Knochel
2003 Roy Neal Davis
2003 Jeffrey Erickson
2002 Jason Wesley Cash
2002 Lyle Kinikini
2001 Marion Lois Folkemer
2001 Katherine Mary Gesteland
2000 Leslie Rae Pelinka
1999 Trek Lyons
1998 Jennifer Nicole Geary
1997 Jennifer White Boyden
1996 Judy R. Merrill
1995 Catherine Alice Olsen
1994 Peter Val Sundwall, Jr.
1993 Peter Blaine Hathaway
1992 Kandice Leigh Knigge