There was much to celebrate on Match Day, the day medical school students nationwide find out where they are headed for residency, for the largest graduating class to date from the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine.

The 45 soon-to-be physicians in the Class of 2020 all matched to residencies in a specialty of their choice, continuing the school’s 100 percent match rate set by the six graduating classes before them.

The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine class of 2020 posed for a group photo on their first day of medical school on July 25, 2016.

VTC class of 2020 on their first day of medical school.
The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine class of 2020 posed for a group photo on their first day of medical school on July 25, 2016.

In light of public health recommendations to avoid large gatherings to reduce the spread of COVID-19, students learned about their residency match via email at their home with small numbers of friends and family.

While lacking the pomp and circumstance of an in-person event, the excitement was still tangible, even from afar. “A successful match is a triumph for each individual and each group of family, friends, helpers, and supporters that made the journey possible,” Dean Lee Learman said in a video message to the class. “You have so much joy to share – we can feel it even at a distance!”

Learman and Senior Associate Dean for Student Affairs Aubrey Knight sent the students a personalized video message through email Friday morning to convey their pride in each member of the class. A similar message was shared on social media Friday morning for all to see.

“By the time you watch this video you will soon be getting the email that contains your letter. When the cheers and shouting stop, and we all begin to feel the impact of what we are about to find out, we first recognize that the success of this day rests first and foremost with each of you,” Knight said. “You have worked incredibly hard and have already achieved great things. But, we also need to acknowledge that there have been many people behind you who have pushed you, guided you, directed and redirected you, and most of all cheered you on. I hope that you realize how special this place is.”

Members of the class will go into programs representing 14 specialties in 16 states, including the District of Columbia, and 35 different academic health centers.

The most represented specialties in the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine’s class of 2020 include emergency medicine, internal medicine, and general surgery.

The matches for the class include such prestigious programs as Cornell University, Duke University, Emory University, University of California San Francisco, the University of Virginia, and Yale University.

Nine students from the class of 2020 will stay in Virginia for their full residency. Of those, five will do their full residency in Roanoke, with another two doing their preliminary year here. This brings the total number of VTC School of Medicine graduates who have done part or all of their residencies in Roanoke to 38.

“This year’s match rivals the class from last year in that students matched into high-quality and prestigious programs,” Knight said. “In addition, all had matched by Monday and no students had to seek last-minute openings this week, just like last year’s class.”

This year was the largest match on record, according to the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). Nearly 45,000 applicants vied for approximately 37,000 positions – meaning not all applicants received a spot. Of the 45,000 applicants, 19,000 were from allopathic (M.D.) medical schools.