CDM Class of 2027 Don White Coats

Eighty-four members of the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine Class of 2027 received their white coats in a ceremony on August 7, 2023. The ceremony marks the beginning of the process of becoming a dentist and is first of three significant milestones in that process. The second is when students transition from the classroom to the clinic and the third is graduation. The ceremony Is especially meaningful because it has its roots at Columbia. The first such ceremony was held at Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1993 at the suggestion of the late Arnold P. Gold, MD, professor of clinical neurology and clinical pediatrics, to reinforce a strong commitment to humanistic practice.

Dr. Jewelnel Davis, the university chaplain, delivered the benediction and welcomed the class, referring to the white coats students carried as their “cloaks of compassion.” Dr. Dana Wolf, the senior associate dean for predoctoral and student affairs, told the class that this was a transformative moment during which they were “symbolically being welcomed into the profession of dentistry.”

Dr. Joseph McManus, the senior associate dean of admissions, promised the assembled families and friends that the school “promises to give your sons and daughters the finest dental education in the world.”

Chance Johnson and Aryas Safaie, second year CDM students who served as this year’s orientation coordinators, each spoke briefly. “Celebrate the small victories,” Safaie advised. “And don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

“Embrace the journey on which you have embarked,” Johnson said.

After the entering class donned their coats, Dr. Biana Roykh, senior associate dean for clinical affairs, administered the oath for the profession.

Dr. McManus summed up the significance of the event. “The white coat is a symbol of the healing arts professionals. Your communities will hold you in high esteem because you will have the ability to alleviate human suffering. May you always be worthy to wear the white coat.”