White Coat Ceremony marks special moment for first-year veterinary students at ISU

AMES, Iowa -- The Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine's Class of 2010 will mark the start of their veterinary education in a distinctive ceremony, Friday, Aug. 18. The 120 new veterinary students will participate in the college's third annual White Coat Ceremony, 7 p.m., at C.Y. Stephens Auditorium. The ceremony is free and open to the public. An invitation-only reception for friends and family will follow.

The presentation of the white coat marks the student's induction into the professional curriculum of veterinary medicine. The coat is a tangible symbol and daily reminder of the student's chosen profession and accompanying responsibilities.

"I'm excited and anxious about entering veterinary school," said Mary England, a first-year veterinary student. "Excited about who I will become during the next four years, and anxious about doing well in my coursework. For me, the White Coat Ceremony represents the transition from learning how to learn to actual learning."

During the ceremony, the veterinary students will be welcomed by Dr. John U. Thomson, dean of the veterinary college. They will be introduced to the Veterinarian's Oath, which they will recite at graduation.

The highlight of the evening is the Coating Ceremony. Each student will be "coated" by an individual chosen by the student. Often the "coater" is a college faculty member, a member of the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association or a veterinarian from the student's home community. Some students will receive coats from family members who are veterinarians.

"The White Coat ceremony is a great event for students," said Tyson Dinslage, second-year veterinary student. "It gives you a feeling of acceptance into the veterinary profession. Being coated by someone you have chosen is memorable for both the student and the coater."

"I'm looking forward to the White Coat Ceremony," said Kendra O'Connor, first-year student. "I chose Dr. James Wistrom from Des Moines to coat me. Dr. Wistrom hired me to work in his practice when I was just becoming interested in veterinary medicine and had no prior experience. I want to thank him for providing me with the opportunity to get started."

Veterinary students also will pledge to abide by the college's Honor Code, a written policy developed by students to promote integrity and ethics. This year's ceremony is the first in which students' family and friends will witness the signing of the Honor Code.

The White Coat Ceremony is the culmination of a three-day orientation in which the veterinary students participate in leadership, team building, communications and diversity exercises. They begin their four-year veterinary education on Monday, Aug. 21, with an 8 a.m. histophysiology class.