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Ole Miss’ first-year pharmacy students receive white coats

By Anna Heard

University of Mississippi

For 115 first-year pharmacy students, the school year unofficially began Thursday (Aug. 10) at the White Coat Ceremony, where each received his or her white coat, a symbol of professionalism.

The annual event is an opportunity to formally impart the seriousness of a pharmacist’s responsibility to new pharmacy students. The students will wear their white coats to classes, assemblies and rotations throughout their four years in pharmacy school, demonstrating to themselves and to the public their professional commitment.

“The White Coat Ceremony provides an origination point for student pharmacists as they begin to see how their practice will impact their patients,” said David Gregory, associate dean for academic affairs at the School of Pharmacy. “Patients must always be at the forefront of our decisions as pharmacists.”

Many family members and friends attended the event at the Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Donna Strum, associate provost for academic affairs and professor of pharmacy administration, provided comments on behalf of the university.

“I ask you now to make a personal pledge to use your knowledge, your strength, your caring and your compassion to do all that you can to be worthy of the trust that your patients will place in you,” Strum said during the ceremony.

Before receiving their coats, each student signed the Pledge of Professionalism that binds them to the responsibilities of a pharmacist. The document will be framed and hung in the pharmacy school.

“We are extremely proud of these students for completing their pre-pharmacy curriculum with such success, and we look forward to seeing their accomplishments in the professional program,” said David D. Allen, Ole Miss pharmacy dean. “The class of 2021 is exceptionally talented, and it’s a privilege for all of us in the School of Pharmacy to begin working with them on their journey toward becoming practicing pharmacists.”