STORY BY BETH LEVALLEY
Friends, family and supporters of Drake University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences students attended the Doctor of Pharmacy White Coat Ceremony last Friday to celebrate the success of the future class of 2019.
One hundred and six students, who were officially accepted into the pharmacy school, walked across the Sheslow auditorium stage to receive their white coat along with the Pharmacy Student’s Pledge of Professionalism.
In their white coat pocket, they received a pin along with the name of a sponsor in the professional field to guide them throughout the next four years.
Natalie Roy, a P4 student and the 2015 Iowa Pharmacy Association Karbeling Leadership Award Recipient, spoke to inspire students on the importance of the next four years.
Roy said creating a life mission statement and posting where the students would see it every day would help them focus their work back to their life goals.
“Take every opportunity possible,” Roy said. “It sounds cliché, but every decision impacts the direction of your life more than you know.”
Roy also told the parents and guests present to show visible support in future years.
“Friends, family, these next four years will be the hardest and most rewarding years of their lives,” Roy said. “Be patient when he or she does not answer phone calls right away.”
Renae Chesnut, Interim Dean for the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, spoke highly of the accomplishments of this class and reminded students of the importance the white coat.
“Please reflect on the profound symbolism on the simple yet important image of the white coat,” Chesnut said.
“White represents life, purity, innocence and superhuman power. The coat also represents the art of healing and science and signals nurturing and learning. This is symbolizing your first step into the profession as pharmacy students, take it with a sense of deep pride and responsibility,” Chestnut said.
After receiving their white coats, the students took a voluntary pledge to reinforce the core values of a pharmaceutical profession. To lead that pledge, Executive Vice President and CEO of the Iowa Pharmacy Association Kate Gainer spoke.
“Wherever you may travel, when you run into someone that asks where you went to school and you say, ‘Drake University in Des Moines,’ you will be met with a wide smile, and I guarantee they will know someone that graduated from here as well,” Gainer said. “Your education is truly unmatched.”
After the ceremony, a reception with cookies and lemonade was held, and many students reunited with their families to take pictures of the momentous event.
Erin Engbring, a P1 student receiving her white coat, spoke highly of the past two days.
“I enjoyed learning what to expect,” Engbring said. “At orientation, we got to meet the transfer students and get to know each other better because we’ll be spending the next four years together.”
Engbring isn’t sure what field of pharmacy she will end up in, but knows that she received a good education at Drake.
“The next four years will be intense,” Engbring said. “But, I know I’ll have a lot of good friends coming out of pharmacy school.”