Putting on the pharmacist’s white coat for the first time: That’s a special moment for both students and their loved ones. The Northeast Ohio Medical University College of Pharmacy Class of 2023 gathered to mark the transition to the next step in their education with a White Coat ceremony held Friday, Aug. 23, in the Ballroom of the NEOMED Education and Wellness (NEW) Center.
NEOMED’s president, Jay A. Gershen, D.D.S., Ph.D., welcomed the group – his last time in this role, as he will be retiring Sept. 30. Richard Kasmer, Pharm.D., J.D., dean of the College of Pharmacy, thanked Dr. Gershen for his leadership and service. Dr. Kasmer also presented the Dean’s Leadership Award to former College of Pharmacy faculty member Timothy Ulbrich, Pharm.D., who in his remarks highlighted the increasingly entrepreneurial nature of the pharmacy profession.
The day’s keynote speaker, Jennifer Adams, Pharm.D., Ed.D., associate dean for academic affairs at Idaho State University College of Pharmacy, told the group that with a husband who is a fourth-generation pharmacist, the couple likes to say that their blood type is Rx Positive. Humor aside, Dr. Adams’ deep respect for the profession showed when she made recommendations to the students: Take responsibility for change and imagine horizons where pharmacists are empowered to use all of their training and skills.
Don’t just study pharmacy. Work together to change the entire practice of pharmacy for the patients that we serve, urged Dr. Adams.
The crowd tried to contain itself while each student walked to the front stage as their name was read by Sandra Emerick, Ed.D., senior executive director of academic affairs and student services, and each was helped into a crisp white pharmacist’s coat by a College of Pharmacy peer. (The student coaters, second-year pharmacy students Mariah Mrofchak, Jason Pol, Mohenad Rasoul and Virginia San Juan, were nominated by their classmates for the honor.) But in some cases, the excitement was just too much. “Hallelujah!” a happy voice called out after one student’s name was announced, and cheers rang out for others.
Among all of the celebration there was a solemn moment, too, when Jaclyn Boyle, Pharm.D. (’12) led the group in the Oath of Pharmacists.
The Class of 2023 totals 99 students. At a reception after the ceremony, friends and family of the class gathered with faculty and staff to celebrate the newest members of the NEOMED community.