Published on October 13, 2023 by Sofia Paglioni  
Pharmacy White Coat Ceremony Celebration

Samford University’s McWhorter School of Pharmacy honored first-year students in the Class of 2027 during its annual White Coat Ceremony, held Oct. 6 at Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Birmingham. This year, 91 students received their white coats. “The White Coat Ceremony welcomes first-year pharmacy students to the profession, representing the first of many key steps to becoming a pharmacist,” said Michael Crouch, Dean of McWhorter School of Pharmacy.

Coaters included numerous alumni, as well as family members, employers and other pharmacists and pharmacy students. McWhorter School of Pharmacy asked its alumni and friends to sponsor a white coat by making a financial gift to cover the cost of a student’s coat and contribute to student scholarships. When students arrived at the ceremony, they received a note from the individual who sponsored their coat, offering words of encouragement and congratulations.

Crouch emphasized the symbol of the white coat, reminding students the moment they slip on their coats, they’re forging a covenant with the patients they’ll serve. “To some, the white coat symbolizes knowledge, skills, and abilities; to others, it is a symbol of purity and healing. But, most importantly to me, it is a symbol of professionalism and trust,” Crouch said.  

Contrary to the practice of many other pharmacy schools, Samford hosts their white coat ceremony in October, which is American Pharmacists Month. By waiting until October, students can take time and reflect on their chosen profession. Keynote speaker and alumna Lea Wolsoncroft M.S., Rph ’94 welcomed the Class of 2027 to pharmacy school during the ceremony. Wolsoncroft reflected on her own journey as a pharmacist. She said, “being a professional can take many different forms…with your position, you can affect thousands of patients directly but also thousands of patients indirectly that you will never know you touched.”

After receiving their white coats, students also took a Pledge of Professionalism, promising to uphold ethical principles of the profession and remain dedicated to the community they serve.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.