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Students Welcomed by Professional Community

Written by Adam Zewe

The Dental Class of 2017 and Dental Hygiene Class of 2015 officially began their dental training during the annual White Coat Ceremony, held on Sept. 9 inside historic Davidge Hall.

The students donned white lab coats, which are symbolic of their chosen health care professions, and recited the oath of dentistry to affirm their commitment to serving patients with compassion and integrity. "This is an important milestone in your professional lives. You are here to be formally welcomed by accomplished faculty and distinguished members of our professional community," remarked interim Dean Mark Reynolds, DDS, PhD.

Faculty members Mary Beth Aichelmann-Reidy, DDS, Clemencia Vargas, DDS, PhD, and Marion Manski, RDH, MS, welcomed the first-year students and shared their perspectives on what it means to be a dentist or hygienist. "You represent this school each time you wear this coat. Treat it with respect and be respectful of your chosen profession," Ms. Manski said.

The students also received inspirational messages from several alumni and friends, including Barry Cohan, DDS '74, a member of the Board of Visitors, Leslie Grant, DDS '86, past president of the National Dental Association and Robert Wilson Jr., DDS, past president of the Maryland State Dental Association. Alumni Association President Guy Alexander, DDS '82, advised the students to expect both great challenges and invaluable rewards during dental school. "As one instructor advised me, learn to pat yourself on the back. Not many others will. At least, not as often as you think you deserve," stated Dr. Alexander.

As the ceremony ended, the dental and hygiene students reflected on the beginning of their dental careers. Rachel Latini, RDH '15, felt humbled to sit in Davidge Hall, a building that has played host to thousands of students since it was erected in 1812. The ceremony reinforced her commitment to become a dental hygienist. "When you educate someone on something as important as their oral health and you see a light bulb go off and they get it, that's a really good feeling," Latini said.

For Mehdi Hasan, DDS '17, the White Coat Ceremony served as a reassuring introduction to the dental profession. "I feel like the ceremony was a really good way to incorporate us into the school and show us that we are a part of a community that we can come to for advice or help," Hasan said.

Samantha Greenstein, DDS '17, is excited to begin her dental training. She chose to pursue a dental career because she wants to help patients understand the importance of good oral health. "Dentists deal with such an intricate part of a patient's overall health. I'm looking forward to working with my patients on a very personal level," she stated.

Click here to see a photo gallery from the White Coat Ceremony.

Click here to watch the ceremony online.

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