JACKSON, Tenn. – Aug. 21, 2014 – Fifty-six students from across the nation officially entered the Union University School of Pharmacy with participation in the seventh annual white coat ceremony Aug. 20. in the G.M. Savage Memorial Chapel.
The ceremony is a highly cherished tradition in pharmacy education, and began at Union with the first doctor of pharmacy class in 2008.
“They are donning the ceremonial cloak of professionalism,” Founding Dean Sheila Mitchell said. “This is their entry into the domain of meaningful and intention service to mankind and public health through the profession of pharmacy.”
About 45 percent of the class comes to Union from outside of Tennessee, and from as far away as Nigeria and Thailand. The new students represent 13 states and 28 undergraduate colleges and universities, including institutions in Oregon, Texas and Minnesota.
Executive Director Baeteena M. Black of the Tennessee Pharmacists Association gave the charge to the class. She challenged the new students to spend their days focusing on ways to provide top-notch care to patients.
“I urge you all to serve as advocates for these patients,” Black said. “I urge you to care for them like you would care for your own family, more specifically like you would care for your own grandmother.”
Union President Samuel W. “Dub” Oliver, who began his tenure June 1, attended his first white coat ceremony at Union. He encouraged the new doctor of pharmacy students to consider Romans 8:31, which he said provides encouragement to those who face challenges.
“If God is for you, who can be against you?” Oliver said. “He wants the best for you. He takes great pleasure in every experience that you have. He’s using it all to make you into the men and women -- the pharmacists -- that He desires you to be.”