White Coat Ceremony & Family Weekend a Growing Rite of Passage

The Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine’s (GSDM) third annual White Coat Ceremony & Family Weekend was bigger than ever this year. A record 775 guests (compared to last year’s nearly 700) filled Metcalf Hall on the Charles River Campus to celebrate 187 students in the DMD 15 and AS 14 Classes.

The White Coat Ceremony marks the midway point of the students’ education and celebrates their transition from the classroom to the patient treatment center. Students will now begin managing the comprehensive oral health care of their assigned patients and providing them with needed treatment in the fifth and sixth floor Patient Treatment Centers of the School of Dental Medicine.

But before students donned their coats, the day began with school tours at GSDM. Dean Jeffrey W. Hutter and Assistant Dean of Students Joseph Calabrese waited on the steps of the School to greet and take photos with students and their guests. The 30–40 minute tours ran four times an hour and lasted into the afternoon.

Later that day, at Metcalf Hall at the George Sherman Union, marshalls Mitch Sabbagh DMD 87 and Ronni Schnell DMD 81 led students in the processional.

Dr. Calabrese welcomed guests:

We appreciate you taking the time to fit us into your busy schedule and recognize the dedication and hard work that our students have made to reach this special moment, a moment frequently referred to as ‘half way to DMD.’

Dr. Calabrese introduced Dean Jeffrey W. Hutter, who gave opening remarks:

Family truly is the most important part of our lives and that your child wanted you here  today for this ceremony speaks volumes to me about our students and the values that you as parents, siblings, relatives, and friends have instilled in them. That they have elected to mark this transition in such a formal and solemn manner in front of their families tells me and my faculty and staff that they are indeed ready for the new challenges ahead.

Students were honored with a keynote address from American Dental Association President Dr. Robert Faiella. Dr. Faiella emphasized the importance of finding balance in one’s personal and professional life. He said that, while students should strive for success in their future careers as dentists, they must also make time for family and friends.

Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs Cataldo Leone then presented the students to Dean Hutter:

Students pose for a photo with Dr. Faiella and Dean Hutter
Students pose for a photo with Dr. Faiella and Dean Hutter

It was not so long ago that these classes joined our community. And yet, they have already enriched us by their presence. These classes consist of highly intelligent, dedicated men and women who have worked hard in school. We are proud of all their accomplishments thus far, both professional and personal.

Students were called up to the stage three-at-a-time to officially put on their white coats for the first time. Dr. Stephen DuLong read the names as Drs. Calabrese, John Guarente (Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs), Leone and Janet Peters (Faculty Liaison to the Advanced Standing Program) helped students with their coats. Dean Hutter and Dr. Faiella then congratulated each of the students before they left the stage.

Members of the class who received the Spencer N. Frankl Scholarship were recognized: Antonio Maceda-Johnson, Keely Matheson, Andrew Pham, and Lyle Smith. Cara Seidel was acknowledged for winning the Omicron Kappa Upsilon William S. Kramer Award of Excellence.

Dean Hutter ended the ceremony by leading students in the recitation of the Professional Oath, the same oath they took at the Professional Ceremony during orientation.

Following the ceremony, students proceeded to the small ballroom for their respective class photos with Dean Hutter, along with photos with Dr. Faiella and Dr. Peters. Afterward, they met their friends and family in the Ziskind Lounge next door for a reception.

The ceremony was sponsored in part by the Massachusetts Dental Society, which regularly sponsors student activities at GSDM. The reception was sponsored in part by Crest/Oral-B/Proctor and Gamble.

Photos of both the tours and ceremony are available on Facebook and Flickr.