White Coat Ceremony


Class of 2021 Ceremony

was held on Friday, October 13, 2017, 2:30 pm, Ira Allen Chapel
with a reception in the Grand Maple Ballroom at the UVM Dudley H. Davis Center

white coat class of 2021

On Friday, October 13, 2017, these students participated in a rite of passage that emphasizes the importance of humanism in medicine – the White Coat Ceremony. The event took place in the University of Vermont’s Ira Allen Chapel.

During this ceremony, 119 first-year medical students received their first white doctors’ coats, symbols of their commitment to be respectful and compassionate towards not only patients, but all members of the healthcare team, and to cultivate attitudes and behaviors that are sensitive to others’ values and their cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Among the class, 22 different languages are spoken and ages range from 21 to 44. 

Opening remarks at the ceremony were delivered by Christa Zehle, M.D., associate dean for students, Frederick C. Morin, M.D., dean of the Larner College of Medicine, and Claude Deschamps, M.D., president and CEO of the UVM Health Network Medical Group. Marvin Klikunas, M.D., associate professor of medicine and the 2017 UVM faculty recipient of the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, delivered the keynote presentation at the ceremony. The official Presentation of Coats portion of the event included William Jeffries, Ph.D., senior associate dean for medical education; Tania Bertsch, M.D., associate dean for clinical education; and Zehle.
White Coats
A portion of the funding for the white coats is provided by the UVM Medical Alumni Association. The Arnold P. Gold Foundation provides the gift of Humanism in Medicine lapel pins to each medical student participating in the White Coat Ceremony. The UVM Office of Primary Care provides students with a keepsake copy of The Oath.


Background Information on the White Coat Ceremony:


Initiated on August 20, 1993 at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, this annual ceremony or a similar rite now takes place for first-year medical students at about 90 percent of schools of medicine and osteopathy in the United States, and is supported by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation

According to the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, the White Coat Ceremony helps establish a psychological contract for the practice of medicine.

Physicians dressed in black until the late 19th century, due to the association of black attire as formal. Physicians adopted the white coat as a symbol of purity at the beginning of the 20th century.


Class of 2021 Schedule Included

  • Breakfast & "The Science of Mindful Wellness for Medical Students and their Parents," with Professor James Hudziak, M.D.,
    8:00 AM, Grand Maple Ballroom, Class of 2021 students and families/guests are welcome.
  • White Coat Student Lineup, 1:30 PM, outside of Billings Ira Allen Lecture Hall, Lower Level of Ira Allen Chapel.
  • White Coat Doors Open, 1:45 PM, Ira Allen Chapel, No tickets required.
  • White Coat Ceremony, 2:30 PM, Ira Allen Chapel, No tickets required.
  • Reception to Follow, Grand Maple Ballroom, Class of 2021 students and families/guests are welcome.
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