Penn Dental Medicine Welcomes Class of 2023 with White Coat Ceremony


Philadelphia — Penn Dental Medicine welcomed the Class of 2023 DMD students to the study of dental medicine at its annual White Coat Ceremony, held August 12 at Penn’s Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. This annual tradition holds symbolic significance for members of the incoming class as they are presented with a white coat and declare their commitment to assume the responsibilities of the dental profession.

“The white coat is a symbol of the professional role our students are assuming as they become health care providers. The white coat is a reminder, as they begin their studies, of the responsibility and trust they will have with their patients,” says Penn Dental Medicine’s Morton Amsterdam Dean, Dr. Mark Wolff. “It’s always an exciting time to welcome a new class of students and celebrate this next step of their education as they join the proud Penn Dental Medicine community.”

This year’s 135-member class is made up of 86 women and 49 men, representing 28 states and 6 foreign countries (Canada, People’s Republic of China, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Venezuela, and Vietnam). Eighteen different languages are spoken by the members of the class with one student also proficient in American Sign Language. The highly accomplished students, selected from nearly 2,100 applicants, had an average overall GPA of 3.73 in their undergraduate studies.

Members of the Class of 2023 take the Penn Dental Medicine Professional Pledge as part of the White Coat Ceremony.

Along with opening remarks by Dean Wolff, the program included a keynote address by Dr. Jack Dillenberg, Dean Emeritus of Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health, and remarks by Dr. Uri Hangorsky, Associate Dean for Student Life and Admissions. Students were cloaked in their white coats by members of the faculty, including Dr. Faizan Alawi, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; Dr. Kathleen Boesze-Battaglia, Assistant Dean for Academic Initiatives; Dr. Joan Gluch, Chief of the Division of Community Oral Health; Dr. Hydar Ali, Professor, Department of Basic & Translational Sciences; and Dr. Oswaldo Nieves, Instructor, Division of Restorative Dentistry.

Following the introduction and cloaking of each student, the ceremony concluded with the reciting of the Penn Dental Medicine Professional Pledge, led by Dr. Jennifer Caughey, a 2019 graduate of Penn Dental Medicine and current postdoctoral student in the School’s oral surgery program. A reception at Penn Dental Medicine followed the ceremony. The event is part of a two-week orientation for the Class of 2023.

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