White Coat Ceremony

White Coat Ceremony, Class of 2008

White Coat Ceremony, Class of 2008

Washington State University, College of Veterinary Medicine Welcomed the Class of 2008 to the Veterinary Medical Profession at the Sixth Annual Convocation also known as the White Coat Ceremony on Friday, August 20, 2004.

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 College, whereupon each student will receive a coat, generously donated by the Idaho and Washington State Veterinary Medical Associations. As a group, the students recite the “Veterinary Student Oath.”


  • Dr. Warwick Bayly, Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Dr. Gilbert Burns, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
  • Dr. Richard DeBowes, Chair, Veterinary Clinical Sciences (VCS)
  • Dr. David Prieur, Chair, Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology (VMP)
  • Dr. Bryan Slinker, Chair, Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience (IPN)
  • Dr. Clive Gay, President, WSVMA, Washington Veterinary Medical Association
  • Dr. David Rustabakke, Representative, IVMA, Idaho Veterinary Medical Association
  • Dr. Judith Slocombe, Keynote Speaker
  • Dr. George Barrington, Chair CVM Curriculum Committee
  • Dr. Dale Hancock, Chair CVM Admissions Committee
  • Dr. Dave Schneider CVM Student Progress Committee

Keynote Address: Dr. Judith Slocombe

Dr. Judith Slocombe is the Group General Manager, Pathology in The Gribbles Group, a major provider of analytical and pathology laboratory services. Judith’s journey has been rich and rewarding. After traveling the world with her husband and children, Judith’s family returned to Australia. She decided to start a small veterinary pathology business from home. Battling limitations surrounding her equipment and service delivery, Judith knew her business could grow considerably if she had access to the sophisticated diagnostic equipment and services available at established human pathology centers. Judith took her idea directly to the key human pathology businesses in Australia, and by developing a totally new business model, grew her small business into the largest veterinary diagnostic group in Australasia. Judith also realized not only was she establishing a state of the art laboratory, but also she was moving into a massive logistics business. With a lot of hard work, Judith developed a hugely successful veterinary pathology business that has seen an annual growth rate of 30% and now employs over 200 people with laboratories throughout Australia and New Zealand. In 2001, Judith sold her business to The Gribbles Group. In the same year, her dedication and vision earned her Australia’s most highly regarded award for women in business, the Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year. Judith later graduated with an MBA from the Melbourne Business School in June 2002, and in 2003 was awarded the Centenary Medal. Judith’s transition from small business owner to senior corporate manager was complete when she was appointed as head of the major human pathology division of the Gribbles Group. She now manages a business with an annual revenue of $140 million and over 2000 employees. Dr Slocombe is married to Professor Ron Slocombe, Chair of Veterinary Pathology at the University of Melbourne, and has nine children. She believes the inspiration and support she receives from her family have been fundamental to her success.

CVM Curriculum Committee - The Curriculum Committee is charged with designing, implementing, revising, and maintaining the sequence of pre-clinical and clinical educational experiences that comprises the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program. Student representatives from each of the OSU and WSU classes, as well as faculty representatives from the three college departments, serve on this committee.

CVM Admissions Committee - The Admissions Committee is responsible for thoroughly evaluating the hundreds of applications sent to WSU from around the world each year. Specific academic and non-academic criteria are used to select applicants who the committee believes will be able to successfully complete our rigorous, science-based veterinary curriculum and possess the qualities of a good veterinarian.

CVM Student Progress Committee - The Student Progress Committee makes recommendations to the Dean in all areas related to students’ progress through the veterinary curriculum including promotion, remediation, probation, dismissal, and graduation.

The pianist was Dr Margaret Brink, PhD, Department of Music
A reception followed the ceremony.

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