White Coat Ceremony

White Coat Ceremony, Class of 2005

Washington State University, College of Veterinary Medicine and The American Veterinary Medical Association Welcomed the Class of 2005 to the Veterinary Medical Profession at the Third Annual White Coat Ceremony on Friday, August 24, 2001.

History of the White Coat Ceremony

The White Coat Ceremony, established by Dr. Arnold Gold at Columbia University Medical School in 1993, was designed to impress upon students, physicians 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 by which values that are key to our profession can be openly articulated and carefully considered in the company of peers, parents, partners and faculty. 

The College of Veterinary Medicine has sincerely embraced the spirit of this exercise. You will find that our ceremony has been appropriately modified for veterinary medical students. It includes an induction into the Veterinary Medical School, whereupon each student receives a coat, generously donated by the Idaho and Washington State Veterinary Medical Associations. As a group, the students recite the “Veterinary Student Oath."

The class was addressed by:
Dr. Warwick Bayly, Interim Dean
Dr. Gilbert Burns, Associate Dean
Academic Affairs

Dr. Warwick Bayly, Dean
College of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Douglas Baker
Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

Dr. Kit Bowerman, President-Elect
Washington Veterinary Medical Association

Dr. Dave Rustebakke
Idaho Veterinary Medical Association

Dr. Claude Ragle
College of Veterinary Medicine Admissions Committee

The Keynote speaker was Dr. Merry Crimi, a 1978 graduate of the University of Minnesota and a veterinary practitioner in Portland Oregon.

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.
Washington State University