School of Nursing To Celebrate New Class With Inaugural White Coat Ceremony

First-year students at the SON will mark the beginning of their professional journey with a White Coat Ceremony on September 21 at 2:00 PM in Memorial Hall. The event is the first ceremony of its kind held by the SON.

Overall, 146 students in the BSN program will receive white coats during the ceremony to symbolize their commitment to the profession and to providing compassionate care. After receiving their coats, students will recite an oath in which they commit themselves to upholding the patient-centered principles of nursing.

The event will feature remarks from Interim Dean Donna Havens and a keynote address will be presented by Dr. Marilyn H. Oermann, Thelma M. Ingles Professor of Nursing at Duke University. An open house at Carrington Hall for all guests will follow the ceremony.

The SON is one of 100 nursing schools selected to receive funding from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation to hold a White Coat Ceremony. The foundation, which has sponsored white coat ceremonies at medical schools since 1993, partnered with the Association of Colleges of Nursing to extend the opportunity to nursing schools. By supporting ceremonies at nursing schools, the foundation is hoping to symbolically demonstrate the value of all members of the health care team.

The ceremony was designed by pediatric oncologist, Arnold Gold, who called the white coat a “cloak of compassion.” It is meant to welcome new students into their chosen health care profession and to establish an expectation that students demonstrate compassion as well as scientific proficiency in delivering medical care.

“The faculty, staff, and students are honored to have our School selected as one of 100 Schools of Nursing across the country to participate in the first nursing white coat ceremonies supported by the Gold Foundation,” said Interim Dean and Professor Donna S. Havens, PhD, RN, FAAN. “This ‘cloaking’ has been a ritual in many health profession schools and represents a rite of passage toward a health care career guided by compassion, dignity and ethics.”

About the Arnold P. Gold Foundation (APGF): As a growing, international not-for-profit organization we have a critical mission: to optimize the experience and outcomes of health care for both patients and practitioners by promoting care that is as humanistic as it is technologically sophisticated. The Arnold P. Gold Foundation works with physicians and nurses in training and in practice, as well as other members of the healthcare team, to instill a culture of respect, dignity and compassion for both patients and professionals. When skilled practitioners build caring, trusting and collaborative relationships with patients, studies reveal more appropriate medical decisions, better patient adherence with treatment plans, and less costly healthcare outcomes. Learn more at