White Coat Ceremonies Welcome Students into Health Professions
August 20, 2003

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Macon, GA—First-year students at Mercer University School of Medicine and Southern School of Pharmacy recently received their first lesson in professionalism and compassion at White Coat Ceremonies in Macon and Atlanta.

During separate ceremonies, 60 medical students and 136 pharmacy students were cloaked in white coats, symbolizing a commitment to the responsibility of health care professions.

The School of Medicine on Mercer's Macon campus welcomed its largest class this year. Dr. Harold Katner, Mercer professor of internal medicine and nationally recognized humanitarian, delivered the keynote address and advised first-year students of the importance of humanism in medicine. Students also recited the Oath of Geneva.

"We hope this ceremony clarifies for our students that a physician's responsibility is to not only cure a patient, but to care for them as well," said Ann C. Jobe, dean of the School of Medicine.

First-year students in the Southern School of Pharmacy also donned white coats, a tradition designed to help instill a sense of the School's core values of professionalism, respect, integrity and caring. With one of the largest applicant pools in the nation, the School has brought in its most academically qualified class, with a grade point average of 3.42. The School also celebrates 100 years in pharmacy education this fall.

Pamala Marquess, a 1993 graduate of the School and Georgia Pharmacy Association Pharmacist of the Year for 2001, delivered the keynote address to students. She reflected on her own journey through pharmacy school and reminded students to be passionate about their work. The ceremony concluded with students reciting the Oath of Professionalism.

"Our School has a history of excellence and a legacy of caring," said H.W. "Ted" Matthews, dean of the Southern School of Pharmacy. "This ceremony represents our students' commitment to health care and to the pharmacy profession."

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