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White coat ceremony: a rite of passage

By: Katharine Russo, PharmD Candidate c/o 2021

A traditional rite of passage, the 18th Annual Pharmacy White Coat Ceremony on October 21st, 2017 marked a student’s progression into the rigorous academic and professional years of pharmacy school at St John’s University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. As Senior Associate Dean for Pharmacy Dr. Joseph Brocavich, Pharm.D. relayed to students, “The white coat serves as a link to all who practice the healing arts and serve and care for their patients.” It is a sign of all the effort and hard work they’ve put into their education since freshman year and the continuing effort they will need to put forth to be shaped into extraordinary pharmacists. To people on the outside it might seem trivial, but to those students who received it, it means so much more.

The white coat is a symbol of the role they will play as one of the nation’s most trusted healthcare professionals and the tremendous responsibility they will have for their patients.1 Upon receiving the coats, students recited together as a class the Oath of Commitment, an oath taken to remind them all of what they have left to do, both inside and outside of the classroom. Keynote speaker Dr. Victoria Roche, Special Assistant to the Dean at Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, reminded students of the lasting commitment the jackets represent, “It is a public testimonial to your lifelong commitment to the tenets of professionalism. Tenets that must become a core component of who you are as a human being both inside and outside of any practice setting.”

Within the next four years at St. John’s University, pharmacy students will engage respectfully with faculty who will challenge them academically to gain the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of a competent pharmacist. In addition, students will strive to be their best selves and the best pharmacists in order to fully engage with patients, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals in the field.



  1. National Association of Chain Drug Stores. Pharmacists rank second again among Gallup’s most trusted professionals. Published 12/21/2016. Accessed 11/03/2017.
Published by Rho Chi Post
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