White Coat Ceremony 2018

CDM Welcomes New Students with White Coat Ceremony

August 13, 2018

Columbia’s incoming class celebrated a milestone when they tried on crisp new white coats emblazoned with their names in the 2018 White Coat Ceremony. This August 13 event marked the Class of 2022's official welcome to the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine and kicked off a week of orientation.

For this ceremony, 84 new students and their loved ones gathered in the Rotunda of Low Memorial Library, an iconic Columbia building that hosts many of  the university's most important ceremonies. Dean Stohler, DMD, DrMedDent, as well as a host of other faculty and student speakers welcomed the new class, offering words of wisdom, an introduction of what's to come in their next four years, and presented students with their white coats: a symbol of the highest ideals of the health care professions. Donning their new coats, they read the Hippocratic Oath aloud, committing themselves to uphold the ethical standards of patient care. 

Although the ceremony represents the start of a journey, it also marked a milestone achievement in itself: Laureen Zubiaurre, DMD, PhD, Senior Associate Dean, Admissions and Career Planning, told the class that for each white coat, 21 applicants were considered. This class is comprised of unique individuals, all selected for their excellence and the promise they demonstrated in applications and interviews.

The Class of 2022 are an exemplary group, as they learned in Dr. Zubiaurre's presentation: Their scores on the Dental Aptitude Test, a test used by dental schools across the country to assess candidates, were more than three points above the national average for dental students. (Columbia: 23.4 versus national average: 20.3) Similarly, the grade point averages of these students was 3.71 compared to the 3.55 national average.

The student body is also extremely diverse; underrepresented minorities comprise 22.6 percent of the class. The future dentists came to campus from 23 states as well as internationally and the group arrived with a broad range of academic interests. Undergraduate majors ranged from performing arts to biochemistry, exercise science to genetics. Some students even arrived with advanced degrees already under their belts.

The Class of 2022’s past academic successes will be put to good use; Columbia has an exceptionally rigorous curriculum. It is one of only four schools where dental students take their preclinical courses alongside medical students, a model of training that reflects the school’s approach to dentistry as the oral health specialty of medicine.

These students arrived as aspiring dentists but, as they learned through the morning, they were about to stretch and grow to become that and so much more, through clubs, volunteer opportunities, research projects, and a host of other experiences in the four years to come.