JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. -

Students at the Quillen College of Medicine at East Tennessee State University walked across the stage at graduation on Friday.

The students tell us this is a day they've been anticipating for a long time.

The students will go on to specialize in many different areas like pediatrics, emergency medicine, and even surgery.

We spoke with one graduate who returned to medical school almost a decade after serving in the Army. He tells us many of the graduates are going away for residency, but he says they aren't saying good-bye to the Tri-Cities forever. "I think the vast majority of the class is staying in the Southeast and following residency. I anticipate quite a few people will return back here to the Tri-Cities area," says graduate Mario Soto.

Soto tells us he plans to do his residency in Georgia, then go back to the Army to serve active duty as a surgeon.