The White Coat ritual got its start in 1989 at the University of Chicago when a professor complained that students often were dressed inappropriately when interacting with patients.
The Dean of Students initiated a ceremonial program in which students were given physician coats and instructed to wear them for any session where patients were present. A few years later the ceremony spread to the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons where it included the recitation of the Hippocratic Oath.
Over the years other professional schools have adopted their own White Coat Ceremonies to mark students’ shift from preclinical to clinical study and practice. The white coats which physicians have traditionally worn have been adopted by other health professions and the ceremonies involve a formal donning of the garment.
Dean Scott Stolte presides over the School of Pharmacy’s Annual White Coat Ceremony. During this event, team advisors will present each entering student with a white coat, symbolic of the professionalism that is expected of them not only during their school years, but also throughout their careers. Students will also gain a sense of the respect, integrity and caring values of pharmacy, and acknowledge the responsibilities of the profession when they recite the Oath of a Pharmacist.