ROANOKE, Va. -

"It was the community," Robert Brown said.

Imagine being Brown; a twenty-something who wants to go to medical school.  He applied for and interviewed with a number of schools up and down the east coast.

Why would he choose the one that's brand new?

"The curriculum and the community," he said. That was enough.

Saturday afternoon, Robert Brown will become Doctor Robert Brown, and he'll enter a residency at the University of Maryland Medical Center to for emergency and internal medicine.

VTC Dean Cynda Johnson says this graduating class means a lot to her, her staff and the medical school, "In some ways, the graduation of the first class was always like our codeword for success because we knew if we got to that point, we were ready," she said.

Johnson said the process of getting a medical school started "is a 10,000 step process."

However, the first graduating class is also exciting in terms of the school's accreditation.  Johnson says there are several elements for full accreditation, but one of the first, large steps is graduating the first class of students.

From big things like establishing the curriculum to small things like what the diploma looks like, Johnson says she's incredibly happy with how things are going at the medical school.

There's also plenty going across the street from the medical school.

Aaron Ewert is the project manager at The Bridges.  If you want to see the positive economic impact the medical school has had on Roanoke, look no further than the bridges. 

Ewert says the $150 million project which will eventually grow to over 150 apartments, restaurants and office space among other things.

Ewert says there's been great interest from both the Carilion and larger Roanoke community about the project and construction has been happening at a furious pace.

While Ewert says his group saw opportunity on the site for a while, the relationship with Carilion has been a mutually beneficial one. Ewert hopes that continues as The Bridges and the medical school continues to grow.