"Today, we celebrate and mark the symbolic transition from dental student to dental care provider."
Dean Denise Kassebaum, DDS, MS, opened the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine White Coat Ceremony with congratulations, appreciation and support for the DDS Classes of 2025 and 2026. One hundred sixty first- and second-year dental students, accompanied by family and friends from around the world, gathered on Boettcher Commons at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus to partake in this momentous occasion on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022.
Following the history and significance of the white coat from Senior Associate Dean for Clinics and Professional Practice Lonnie Johnson, DDS, PhD; representatives from the American College of Dentists; International College of Dentists; and the Pierre Fauchard Academy gave their advice and well wishes to the students. All three speakers are CU Dental alumni, so their words seemed to carry an added element of thoughtfulness and understanding of where the students are now in their dental careers, and the endless possibilities ahead.
"All dentists struggle with the pressures of clinical dentistry, and our ethics training is one of the most useful tools we can turn to for guidance. Our patients, the public and the dental profession rely on us to maintain high ethical standards to ensure the highest level of care. Congratulations to all of our students here, making this transition into the world of clinical dentistry."
Kenneth S. Peters, DDS '84
American College of Dentists
"I want to encourage you to stay inspired, whether by faith, belief, pure grit, or whatever it takes. I say this to you because you matter. In what you do today and as a dentist, you matter. Your contributions matter. This world needs your leadership and your service."
Stephanie H. Kaufmann, DDS '97
International College of Dentists
"To the students who are about to begin your epic journey in your new career, I give you my heartfelt congratulations. This day represents one of the most important moments of your career. My advice to you today is to remember that you represent and serve the profession of dentistry inside and outside of the office. Make wise choices. Always place the patients' needs in front of your own. And remember that you are worthy of abundance."
Carrie Mauterer, DDS '05
Pierre Fauchard Academy
Then came the moment our students have been eagerly awaiting.
Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Admissions Rick Mediavilla, DDS '00, read the names of each individual student of the DDS Class of 2025, followed by the DDS Class of 2026, as they came on stage to receive their white coats.
The amount of love and support from family, friends, faculty and fellow students was heard throughout campus in the form of perpetual applause and cheers. Students were shaking from excitement as they returned to their seats.
Dr. Mediavilla took a moment to highlight the newest class of the dental profession:
- In this class, 20 states are represented.
- twenty-five percent of our students in this class are first generation.
- Four percent are serving our nation in the military.
- Fifty-three percent are from the state of Colorado.
To close the ceremony, Dean Kassebaum led the students in reading the dental oath—a pledge to "the service of humanity, my patients, my community, and my profession."
Each class then came on stage for group photos, and the second-year students took a special moment to thank Dr. Mediavilla for everything he has done for them. "A handful of us wouldn't still be here if it wasn't for you," said Jamie Mason (DDS '25) as she presented him with flowers and card signed by their classmates.
DDS Class of 2025
DDS Class of 2026
As everyone began to leave, the buzz on Boettcher Commons remained strong for the next hour: family photos, selfies with classmates, informal tours around the dental school and the Anschutz Medical Campus, and lots of smiles. Even first-year student Xindi Wang's dog "Dr. Coco" was ready for pictures in his white coat.
To watch a recording of the White Coat Ceremony, visit our YouTube channel.
Photography by Ken Mostek and Paul Wedlake.