White Coat Ceremony marks first-year students’ entry into the pharmacy profession

UF College of Pharmacy Class of 2020.

The University of Florida College of Pharmacy celebrated the entry of 277 first-year pharmacy students into the profession at the college’s White Coat Ceremony held April 8 in Gainesville.

A time-honored tradition in the college, the white coat presentation recognizes a student’s progression through the first year of a rigorous academic and professional pharmacy program. UF was among the first pharmacy colleges in the country to host a white coat ceremony two decades ago, and the tradition continues as a way to reward students for their commitment to the profession.

Tom Menighan, BSPharm, ScD(Hon), FAPhA, executive vice president and CEO of the American Pharmacists Association, delivered the keynote remarks at the ceremony. He encouraged UF pharmacy students to become involved in pharmacy and advocate for greater involvement in health care.

“You are part of this great profession, and being a professional comes with responsibilities beyond yourself,” Menighan said. “Your values and experiences will shape you, and patients will count on you.”

Menighan added that the white coat worn by UF pharmacy students will forever change the way people look at them the rest of their lives. He concluded by telling the students how proud he was to call them fellow pharmacists.

Following Menighan’s remarks, students from UF’s three pharmacy campuses in Gainesville, Jacksonville and Orlando were called to the stage to receive their white coat. Each student was coated by a faculty member or donor who helped fund the coat purchase. After the coating, the students collectively participated in a pledge of professionalism that demonstrated their commitment to serving patients and loyalty to the profession.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, Julie Johnson, Pharm.D., dean and distinguished professor in the UF College of Pharmacy, congratulated the newly-coated students and reflected on the symbolism in the ceremony.

“Today marks an important milestone in your journey of pharmacy,” Johnson said. “I trust you will always remember this ceremony and appreciate what this coat means to your career.”

To view pictures from the event, visit: https://ufcollegeofpharmacy.smugmug.com/White-Coat-Ceremony-2017/.