Today’s entering pharmacy student in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences receives a symbolic white coat during a ceremony just before the fall semester begins. The recent tradition is impactful for both the students and alumni donors.
The white coat represents the beginning of a professional journey. The ceremony was initiated in 1998–1999 academic year as a way to celebrate the pharmacy students’ entry into the profession. In 2007, the college added a philanthropic component to the ceremony, introducing the White Coat Sponsorship and Travel Sponsorship Program. Today each student’s coat is sponsored by a donor whose contact information is slipped into the front pocket, connecting students with alumni and other industry professionals and giving them an early start in networking.
Interested in supporting the White Coat program? You can give to this program here.
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See class images from previous White Coat Ceremonies here.
“The program allows our alumni and friends to give back in a meaningful way that makes a difference in the development of our future pharmacists,” said Renae Chesnut, interim dean of the CPHS. “The generosity of our donors has a direct impact on pharmacy students—beginning with the first day of their pharmacy education, our incoming P1 students have a tangible way to connect with our Drake pharmacy community and feel support from someone who is investing in their future.”
Deborah Kitch, PH’04, has given each year to the white coat fund. She felt the impact of the white coat as a P1 student recipient and wants to pay it forward.
“At the ceremony, you’re being inducted into a family of fellow pharmacists in the making. You’re presented with something that really means something to you for the program,” said Kitch. “It’s very meaningful to me each year to give our young students the encouragement and inspiration to work toward their dreams and goals in pharmacy. It’s worth all the blood, sweat, and tears.”
The 2015 White Coat ceremony was held Friday, August 28 at 4 p.m. Read about the 2015 ceremony here, and view a gallery of images from the 2015 White Coat Ceremony, or in the gallery below.