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KGI School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Welcomes PharmD Class of 2021 at White Coat Ceremony

White Coat Ceremony Photo Gallery

The Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences celebrated its new students on Saturday as more than 60 members of the Class of 2021 participated in the annual White Coat Ceremony.

The formal ceremony recognized them as members of the fourth class of the KGI School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and as members of the pharmacy profession. The event, which took place on Saturday, August 19 at the Garrison Theater in Claremont, CA, hosted more than 500 attendees, which included family, friends, KGI faculty, and distinguished guests.

Symbolizing dedication to clinical service and patient care, the ceremony includes each student receiving a White Coat to signify the beginning of the student’s career. For students whose parents are pharmacists, the white coat was given by that respective parent.

KGI President Sheldon Schuster opened the ceremony by introducing Father Joe Fenton from The Claremont Colleges Office of the Chaplains. Following the invocation and singing of the National Anthem, President Schuster also welcomed the Class of 2021 into the KGI community and introduced Founding Dean of KGI’s School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Kathy Webster.

“Always get help from others and stick with it,” said Webster, in offering advice to the Class of 2021. “The most successful people in this field are those that show determination. We look forward to seeing all of your accomplishments while you are here and throughout your profession.”

This year’s keynote speaker was Rear Admiral (RADM) Pamela Schweitzer, who was appointed the first female Chief Professional Officer of Pharmacy for the United States Public Health Service in August of 2014, with a temporary promotion to the Assistant Surgeon General. As Chief Pharmacist Offer, RADM Schweitzer is responsible for providing leadership and coordination of public health service pharmacy programs and professional affairs for the Office of the Surgeon General and the Department of Health & Human Services.

“This is a significant milestone,” said RADM Schweitzer, explaining the importance of the White Coat Ceremony to KGI students. “Every time you put that coat on, it will inspire confidence and trust in patients. When you wear the coat, you are going to walk with a purpose. People are going to look at you and recognize that you have the attributes to be a healthcare professional.”

Following the keynote address, KGI Board of Trustees Chairman Robert E. Curry introduced additional speakers, including Steve Casper, Dean and Professor, KGI Henry E. Riggs School of Applied Life Sciences; Vinson Lee, President, California Pharmacists Association; Paul Huynh, Walgreens representative; Angela Chanda Pootrakul, RX Relief representative; and student speaker, Brian Ngo, PharmD ‘20.

“Four years of pharmacy school are going to pass by in a blink of an eye,” said Lee to the Class of 2021. “Start thinking about what kind of legacy you want to leave here at KGI. Every one of you can affect change and make a difference, not only in our industry but more importantly for our patients.”

After being formally cloaked with their White Coats, the students recited the Pledge of Professionalism, which emphasizes the adherence to the set of rigid ethical standards demanded by anyone entering the pharmacy profession.