The Harding University College of Pharmacy held their White Coat Ceremony for the Class of 2020 on Friday, August 19th, 2016. This took place at the end of orientation week for these students one week before classes began. It is a special representation of the bridge between undergraduate studies and graduate studies for first year pharmacy students. Family and friends are invited to witness each student receiving his or her white coat which symbolizes the students stepping into the world of medicine and taking the first steps it takes to become a doctor of pharmacy.
The ceremony began with Dr. Mercer, Dean of the College of Pharmacy, bringing welcome to the students, faculty, friends, and family. Dr. Burks, Harding University Chancellor, gave the invocation and Dr. McLarty, Harding University president, brought the university welcome. Steve Sparks, Senior Manager of Health and Wellness Practice Compliance for Wal-Mart corporate gave the white coat address and Susan Grace, Director of Student Affairs, Forrest Smith, Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Julie Kissack, Chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice, presented the class of 2020. Rayanne Story, Assistant Dean for Experiential Education, administered the pledge of professionalism. Scott Pace, the Executive Vice President and CEO of the American Pharmacist’s Association, welcomed the class to the pharmacy community. Charlie Wright of the class of 2019 gave the benediction.
Dr. Jeff Mercer is the dean for the college of pharmacy and met the students early in the week and facilitated this special ceremony. He shook every students hand and posed for a picture with each student in his or her white coat. Dr. Mercer has been a part of every white coat ceremony since the inaugural ceremony in 2008. Because this is Dr. Mercer’s first year as dean, he held a new role during this year’s ceremony.
“While every white coat ceremony is a joyous occasion, this year was extra special for me because of my new role as dean. I really enjoyed the opportunity to greet each student and officially welcome them each into their formal education as doctor of pharmacy students.”