More than 200 students celebrated at annual White Coat Ceremony

More than 200 GSDM students donned their white coats for the first time on Friday, July 8, in front of cheering friends and family during the school’s annual White Coat Ceremony.

The ceremony marks the half-way point in students’ dental school experience and celebrates their entrance into the school’s Patient Treatment Centers. Students from the school’s Doctor of Dental Medicine Class of 2024 and Doctor of Dental Medicine Advanced Standing Class of 2023 participated in this year’s ceremony.

You have reached the half-way point in your educational program. Can you believe it?” said Dr. Cataldo W. Leone, dean and Spencer N. Frankl professor in dental medicine, during his opening remarks. “For some of you, it may have seemed like the blink of an eye, and for others it may have seemed like an eternity. And yet, here you all are. Congratulations to each one of you!”

Almost 700 people attended this year’s ceremony, which was the first time that family and friends have been able to participate in person since 2019 due to restrictions required by the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s important to “acknowledge the unyielding support our students receive from parents, spouses, children, relatives, and friends,” Dean Leone said. “We express our deepest gratitude to all the family and friends who help our students achieve their goal of becoming dentists.”

This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. George R. Shepley, president-elect of the American Dental Association, who said the students should be proud of what they’ve accomplished so far and excited about what comes next.

“Every bit of what you learn in dental school will lead you into a profession that, after more than 40 years as a general practice dentist, I have found to be more rewarding than I ever could have imagined,” Shepley said.

He continued later, “Today when you don your white coat for the first time, you will join the ranks of dentists, past and present, whose contributions have proven worth of the trust we have earned within our society.”

After the remarks, students were called on stage in groups of four to be “coated” by representatives from the school’s faculty. After all the students were coated, Dean Leone then led them in reciting their professional oath, in which students pledged themselves to the service of humanity, patients, community, and profession.

This year’s ceremony was the first in the school’s history to feature two student speakers: Parsa Shahidi DMD 24 and Ahmed Baioumy DMD AS 23, who are the class presidents of their respective classes. 

“We moved here with hope, energy, and potential, aiming for a better future for ourselves and our families,” Baioumy said. “Dental school was so nice we did it twice. We knew what we were getting ourselves into, we knew the challenges ahead … it’s definitely worth it.”

“We stand together as one, shoulder to shoulder, entering into our treatment centers, eager and equipped to do what we set out to do, that is, to best serve our patients.” Shahidi said. “These white coats symbolize the opportunity we get to serve our communities and make a real change in the world.”

During the ceremony, several awards were presented:

  • Jonathan Lee DMD 24 was awarded the Omicron Kappa Upsilon Dr. William S. Kramer Award of Excellence, which is presented annually to a rising third-year dental student who has demonstrated outstanding scholarship, character, and potential promise for the advancement of dentistry and service to humanity;
  • Ahmed Baioumy DMD AS 23 was awarded the International College of Dentists Student Leadership Award, which recognizes a DMD Advanced Standing student for demonstrating outstanding leadership, academic accomplishment, and character that focuses on service to the community and our profession; and
  • Paula Aspinwall-Rezende DMD AS 23, Stephen Carpinito DMD 24, Mary Morcos DMD 24, and Parsa Shahidi DMD 24 were honored with the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine Spencer N. Frankl Scholarship Award, which is awarded annually to students who best exemplify the spirit of our school’s second dean, Dr. Spencer N. Frankl.

For photos from the event, please click here.