2014 White Coat Ceremony

Published on 26 August 2014

Cure sometimes. Comfort always. Provide safe passage.

Those three concepts will test the newest members of the profession of pharmacy, according to Paula Barton Mann, Pharm.D., JD ’98/’99. Mann gave her advice in a passionate speech during the White Coat Ceremony at St. Louis College of Pharmacy on Friday, Aug. 22.

Mann, vice president, National Pharmacy Compliance, Kaiser Permanente was close friends and a mentor to Tracy Patterson, who died in a tragic car accident in 1998 during her second year at the College. Her speech was an emotional and moving tribute to Tracy as her son, Justin, who chose to follow in his mother’s footsteps to become a pharmacist, received his white coat during the ceremony.

She told the more than 200 students, their family, friends, and College faculty and staff that during a pharmacist’s career there won’t always be times where a cure is possible.

“But you can always, always fill the journey with compassion, patience, understanding,” she said.  “And that is how you provide safe passage.”

In his first White Coat Ceremony at the College, School of Pharmacy Dean Bruce Canaday, Pharm.D., spoke about the importance of the moment.

“As you don your white coats today, I hope you will reflect on the profound responsibility that coat symbolizes,” he said. “As of today – not ‘someday’ - not ‘when I graduate’ –  but starting right now, you will be expected to work tirelessly to assure that patients receive maximum benefit from their medications with minimal risk; to relentlessly pursue excellence; to develop proficiency as the medication expert in healthcare; and to truly care about your patients and their well-being.”

As part of the ceremony, each student receiving a coat recited the Pledge of Professionalism. The class of 2018 will spend the next four years gaining knowledge and skills to prepare them to become leaders and future innovators in the profession of pharmacy.

“Never forget that you’re not alone on your journey,” Mann concluded her speech. “And that one moment, just one, where you choose to comfort – where you choose compassion and safe passage – can be profound to another.”

See all the photos from the ceremony at the College's Flickr page.

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