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Watch Pitt Dental’s White Coat Ceremony on Aug. 21

A group of dental students pose on steps in their white coats

University of Pittsburgh School of Dental of Medicine leaders will bestow 109 personalized white coats to incoming Doctor of Dental Medicine and dental hygiene students on Monday, Aug. 21, at 2 p.m. in Alumni Hall’s seventh-floor auditorium. The event will also be livestreamed.

A rite of passage, the White Coat Ceremony welcomes students to both the school and the profession. It’s also a chance to affirm them publicly, said Christine Wankiiri-Hale (A&S ’98, DEN ’02G), associate dean for student affairs at Pitt Dental Medicine.

“I fondly remember receiving my own white coat when I started school,” Wankiiri-Hale said. “I still have it over two decades later.”

Though not as acute as other health care fields, Pennsylvania — and the U.S. generally — is experiencing a shortage of dentists, particularly in rural areas. One in five Pitt Dental graduates have historically remained in the Pittsburgh region after graduation.

Here are some fun facts about the incoming class:

  • The School of Dental Medicine accepted 80 students into the Doctor of Dental Medicine program and 29 students into the dental hygiene program.
  • This year’s incoming Doctor of Dental Medicine students hail from 18 states and five countries: Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Spain and the U.S.
  • Graduates of the School of Dental Medicine have a 99% pass rate on the Integrated National Board Dental Examination on the first attempt.
  • Seven legacy students will join the Doctor of Dental Medicine program this year.

The White Coat Ceremony receives support from the Harry K. Zohn (DEN ’84G), DMD, and Cecile A. Feldman, DMD, White Coat Endowment Fund as well as contributions from alumni and friends of the School of Dental Medicine.


— Nichole Faina, photography by Aimee Obidzinski