Like many other meaningful events this year, the recent College of Pharmacy White Coat Ceremony was held virtually, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But that didn’t dampen the spirit of the event, as students gathered privately with family and loved ones to celebrate this important step on their journey to become pharmacists.
“We perform these rituals to reflect on what has taken place in the past and what our future will be,” said Rick Kasmer, Pharm.D., J.D., dean of the College of Pharmacy in his opening remarks. “Donning the white coat for the first time is a tangible symbol of the extraordinary journey you’ve embarked upon, and I suspect you will carry the image with you forever.”
During the ceremony, Dr. Kasmer presented Jaime Whited, R.Ph., health care supervisor for Walgreen’s in Northeast Ohio, with the Dean’s Leadership Award for several years of support and leadership for the College and its students.
Neil MacKinnon, Ph.D., dean of the University of Cincinnati James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy, presented the keynote speech, on the ultimate benefits and responsibilities of entering the pharmacy profession. Then it was time for the students to don their white coats.
In all, 88 first-year pharmacy students announced their names and hometowns, then proudly put on their white coats for the first time, either by themselves or with the help of family, friends or classmates.
In a typical year, the students are helped into their white coats by second-year students called coaters, who are selected by their peers. While this was not possible with a socially distanced virtual ceremony, this year’s coaters – Maher Abbo, Miranda Galleher, Destiny Patrick and Paige Tulcewicz – shared inspiring words to welcome the incoming pharmacy class.
“To me, wearing the white coat represents a commitment to professionalism, integrity and compassion for the patients you will serve,” remarked Galleher.
“If you ever find yourself feeling in over your head, remind yourself why you chose to become a pharmacist,” noted Tulcewicz. “Remind yourself that you will change hundreds of lives over the course of your career. You got this!”