White Coat Ceremony

White Coat Ceremony, Class of 2009

White Coat Ceremony, Class of 2009

Washington State University, College of Veterinary Medicine Welcomed the Class of 2009 to the Veterinary Medical Profession at the Seventh Annual Convocation also known as the White Coat Ceremony on Friday, August 19, 2005.

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
  • Dr. David Prieur, Chair
  • Dr. Bryan Slinker, Chair
  • Dr. Sandy Wright, President, WSVMA, Washington Veterinary Medical Association
  • Dr. Rene´Carlson, Keynote Speaker
  • Dr. Chris Davies, Chair CVM Curriculum Committee
  • Dr. Dale Hancock, Chair CVM Admissions Committee
  • Dr. Leslie Sprunger, CVM Student Progress Committee

Keynote Address: Dr. René Carlson

Dr. René Carlson graduated from the University of Minnesota – College of Veterinary Medicine in 1978. Following an internship in Springfield, Massachusetts she embarked on a career in companion animal private practice. Over the past 26 years she has worked in small and large animal practices, in rural and urban practices, and as an employed doctor and, since 1996, as the owner of the Animal Hospital of Chetek in Chetek, Wisconsin. In 2000, the Animal Hospital of Chetek was listed as one of the Veterinary Economics 12 Practices of Excellence in the country. In 2001, Dr. Carlson was selected as Wisconsin’s Veterinarian of the Year.

Dr. Carlson currently is quite involved in organized veterinary medicine as well. She is a past president of both her local and state Veterinary Medical Associations, served as the delegate from Wisconsin to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s House of Delegates for 8 years, and as a member of the American Veterinary Medical Foundation Board of Directors for 3 years. The AVMF is our national charity for Animal Disaster Response and Preparedness. In July 2004, she was elected Vice President of the American Veterinary Medical Association representing 71,000 veterinarians in the United States and over 10,000 veterinary students.

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.

Music provided by Devon Loughney
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