by Kara Petrovic // Fall 2010
School of Dentistry ceremony
Connie White (D.D.S. ’81) helps dental student Susan McDonald into her white coat.

The dental hygiene class of 2011 and the doctor of dental surgery class of 2012 were welcomed into clinical practice during the “Transitioning into the Profession” ceremony — a new “tradition” started by School of Dentistry students, faculty and staff this June.

During the ceremony, 100 dental students received embroidered white coats and 30 hygiene students received embroidered scrubs to wear while treating patients in the School’s clinic. More than 400 families and friends watched students recite and sign their class-written code of ethics that stresses ethical practice and social responsibility for all patients.

“This new ceremony sets the stage for these students as they transition from the primary role as a student learner to a student in the clinic providing patient care, and as they progress in their educational journey,” says Marsha Pyle, D.D.S., dean of the School of Dentistry. “As these students enter the clinic, there is a significant trust that the public puts in our dentist and hygienist, and it was important to honor these students and their accomplishments.”

Brianna Ganson, third-year dental student, dental surgery class vice-president and committee member, says initial ceremony discussions began in January and that a 10-member committee soon formed to hash out all of the ceremony details. “I really believe that everyone was excited to be a part of this ceremony. After two hard years of book work, it was nice to be honored before starting in the clinic,” Ganson says. “The embroidered white coat is more than a piece of fabric to us. It is a symbol of who we are becoming. It’s a badge of honor, a small reminder that we are professionals and must act with the utmost integrity and honor as we serve our community.”

After the ceremony, students, along with family and friends, gathered for a reception at the School of Dentistry for clinic tours and faculty introductions. “What really made this ceremony special was that we got to share it with our family and friends,” Ganson says. “During the reception, our guests were able to walk around the school we’ve been spending so much time in and see what we’re doing.” Ganson says she’s already met with the Class of 2013’s class president to make sure the ceremony continues next year.

“This has been a great tradition for us to start here,” Pyle says. “This ceremony is a truly special moment in their careers and something they will always remember.”

The gift of music
Library’s transformation in progress