PULLMAN — Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine will conduct its 7th annual White Coat Ceremony at 4 p.m. Friday (Aug. 19) in the Compton Union Building Ballroom.

The White Coat Ceremony at WSU is an adaptation of a similar ceremony established by Dr. Arnold Gold at Columbia University Medical School in 1993.  It is designed to impress upon incoming veterinary students, veterinarians and the public the important symbolic role of the white coat in patient-doctor interactions.

Gold argued that students were reciting the Hippocratic Oath four years too late, upon their graduation from medical school. He felt the oath and the conferring of white coats would be better done at the start of medical school, when students receive their first exposure to clinical medicine. The White Coat Ceremony provides a mechanism for articulating key professional values in the company of peers, parents, partners and faculty.

WSU’s veterinary college was the first in the nation to adapt the ceremony, originally meant for medical students, to new veterinary medical students. It is now a common practice among many of the nation’s 28 veterinary colleges. 

Friday’s program is open to the public and includes an induction into the WSU veterinary college that also serves as a welcome to the profession. Each student receives his or her first white clinic coat, donated by the Idaho and Washington State Veterinary Medical Associations. The ceremony is emotional for some as it is common for extended families to witness loved ones being admitted into the veterinary medical profession.

Following the induction, WSU’s veterinary class of 2009 will recite the “Veterinary Student Oath” in unison.

The Veterinary Student Oath

At the time of being admitted to the Veterinary Medical College at Washington State University, I solemnly pledge:

·  To consecrate my life to the service of both animals and humanity;
·  To give my teachers, staff and classmates the respect that is their due; 
·  To conduct myself at all times with conscience and dignity; 
·  To always provide comfort and compassion to teaching and client animals left in my care; 
·  To maintain the honor and noble traditions of the veterinary medical profession; 
·  To avoid considerations of religion, nationality, race, politics or social standing to influence my relationships with teachers, staff, classmates or clients; 
·  To never use my veterinary knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity; 
·  I make these promises sincerely, freely and upon my honor.