Family and friends gathered on Friday, August 13, to celebrate the PA Class of 2023 and the PharmD Class of 2025 as they received their white coats. Dean of the College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, Dr. Michael L. Adams, welcomed the in-person audience, as well as those that viewed the ceremony via livestream, and gave an address to the students.
“Today we celebrate the start of your professional educational journey,” Adams said. “The beginning of your transformation into professional students and ultimately healthcare professionals. The presentation of the white coat is an outward reminder of this early step in a student’s professional journey.”
Alumnae Kiley O’Connor (’21 MPAP), who served as Class of 2021 Wallace Student Society president, offered the invocation, and Crystal Dowless (’09 PharmD), CPHS Alumni Board president, brought greetings from all the CPHS alumni. Dowless challenged the students to use the next few years to determine exactly what his/her white coat means to them. “Each of the coats will fit differently,” she said, “Just like each student’s place in their profession.”
“It’s said that the longest journey in the world is really only 18 inches,” said guest speaker, Dr. Joseph P. Jordan, chief executive officer of the North Carolina Professionals Health Program, “and that’s taking what you have in your head and putting it in your heart. The distance between your head and your heart is the only true journey that we have to make in this world.”
Betty Lynne W. Johnson (’79, ’86), chair and director of the Physician Assistant Practice program, and Ms. O’Connor coated the PA Class of 2023. The PharmD Class of 2025 was coated by Pamela U. Joyner, interim chair of Pharmacy Practice, and Dr. Dowless. After being coated, the students signed the CPHS Honor Code as a public acknowledgement of their entry and transition into their professional careers.
At the end of the ceremony, Jeslyn S. Wethington (’23 PharmD Candidate), president of the Pharmacy Student Executive Board, delivered the benediction.
“The white coat ceremony was something truly special for me because it symbolized the next steps of becoming who I truly want to be one day, a pharmacist,” said Sophia Miller (’25 PharmD/MSPH Candidate). “Being part of the class of 2025 White Coat Ceremony and watching my fellow classmates receive their coats was very inspiring. Not only does putting on our white coats represent the completion of our journey of getting into this rigorous program, but it also symbolizes the new journey ahead as new student pharmacists.”
Be humble. Be steadfast. Serve others.
– Dr. Mark Moore (’00 PharmD, ’07 MSCR)