Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)

White Coat Ceremony

Contributing to the care and healing of others is a privilege that carries great responsibility. White Coat ceremonies celebrate an important milestone in the lives of first-year pharmacy students, who begin a new chapter in their journey of lifelong learning. The White Coat placed on each future healthcare professional represents a commitment to competence, communication, patient care, curiosity, integrity, and community. The white coat also marks each student's formal entry into the pharmacy profession. The White Coat Ceremony for the West Coast University School of Pharmacy Class of 2021 was held on October 29th at the Sportsmen's Lodge in Universal City.

This year's keynote address was delivered by Dr. Max Ray, Dean Emeritus at Western University of Health Sciences. With over 50 years of experience in Pharmacy, Dr. Ray's career has spanned various practice settings and academia. Some highlights of his career include:

  • Chief Pharmacist at the Medical University of South Carolina Hospital
  • Chair of the Department of Clinical Pharmacy at the Medical University of South Carolina
  • Director of the Professional Practice Division and Director of the Pharmacy Residency Accreditation Program for the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists (ASHP)
  • Executive Vice President of the California Society of Hospital Pharmacists (CSHP)
  • Clinical Professor of Pharmacy in the UC-San Francisco (UCSF) School of Pharmacy and Associate Director of Pharmacy at the UC-San Diego Medical Center
  • Dean of the College of Pharmacy at Western University of Health Sciences
  • Consultant to the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE)

Dr. Ray's address reinforced the symbolism of the white coat and its connection to professionalism. He reminded all 63 pharmacy students that the word "professionalism" and "profession" comes from the root word "to profess" and how as pharmacists "we have something to profess." Dr. Ray continued his remarks by stating one's professional calling also comes with a responsibility for a "lifetime of education" and "continuous learning, un-learning, and re-learning". In his concluding remarks, Dr. Ray invited each student to write a letter to their loved ones to express thanks for their support and encouragement as they embark on their professional career.  

Dr. Kyle Sousa, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, presented each student as they walked onto the stage. Students were officially coated and welcomed into the profession by Dr. Reza Taheri, Dean of the School of Pharmacy. The ceremony concluded with students reciting the Pharmacist Code of Ethics Pledge – a pledge led by Dr. Keri Hurley-Kim, Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice. A brief reception also followed.

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