GSDM celebrates first-ever hybrid White Coat Ceremony 

As members of the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) Class of 2023 and the Doctor of Dental Medicine Advanced Standing (DMD AS) Class of 2022 lined up to enter the Metcalf Hall in the George Sherman Union, their white coats folded on their right arm, the world was watching—literally.

Friends and family from around the globe watched via a livestream feed displayed on the GSDM website, participating remotely in the school’s first ever hybrid-event. Students and a limited number of faculty attended an in-person ceremony in the George Sherman Union on the Charles River Campus, while their loved ones were able to watch the ceremony virtually.

“It is truly a pleasure to again welcome our students who are here with us in person, and their relatives and friends who are joining us remotely,” said Dean ad interim Cataldo Leone in his opening remarks. “The specialness of today’s ceremony transcends whatever the format may be. Thank you to all for sharing in this event today.”

At GSDM, the White Coat ceremony marks the halfway point during the student’s career in dental school and serves as an induction to the predoctoral patient treatment center.

“You have learned foundational knowledge in the biomedical sciences, the behavioral sciences, and the clinical sciences,” Dean Leone said. “You now will continue in the clinical sciences, learning advanced concepts and applying all that you have learned for the betterment of fellow human beings; that is, our patients.” 

Dr. Cesar R. Sabates, President-elect of the American Dental Association, spoke of the camaraderie in the dentistry field during keynote remarks, which were delivered as a pre-recorded video. 

“As dentists, we are all one—when one of us succeeds, we all succeed,” Sabates said.  “When I say that dentistry is a special family, I think about all the ways we can carry each along the journey—with a kind word, a listening ear, a helpful hand and, especially, a thank you to those who made a difference.”  

In groups of four, students crossed the stage and were “coated” by representatives from the school’s faculty. Once all students had donned their white coats, they recited the Professional Oath, in which students pledge themselves to the service of humanity, patients, community and profession.  

Dean Leone also recognized students who received awards for their academic accomplishments and leadership skills. Dominique Ives DMD 23 received the Omicron Kappa Upsilon William S. Kramer Award of Excellence, while Melissa Vasquez DMD AS 22 was the recipient of the International College of Dentists Student Leadership Award. Four students— Sally Lakis DMD 23, Grant Neil DMD 23, Maitry Parekh DMD AS 22, and Mohamed Sour DMD 23—were recognized as recipients of the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine Spencer N. Frankl Scholarship Award.  

“In looking back, it really was not so long ago that these students joined our community,” Dean Leone said. “And they have already enriched us tremendously by their presence. These classes consist of highly dedicated, intelligent, and talented individuals who have worked very hard in dental school, and we are proud of all their accomplishments thus far, both professional and personal.”