Health Sciences Center to Hold White Coat, Pinning Ceremonies

statue of jesse mercer sitting on a bench

ATLANTA/MACON/SAVANNAH – More than 500 graduate students in the four schools and colleges that make up the Mercer University Health Sciences Center will participate in seven ceremonies during the month of August that signal the students’ entry into the health professions.

Approximately 175 incoming nursing students will participate in the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing white coat ceremony on Aug. 14, 10 a.m., in the Sheffield Student Center on the Cecil B. Day Campus in Atlanta.

The College of Pharmacy will hold its white coat ceremony on Aug. 15, 1 p.m., in the Sheffield Student Center. Dr. Barry Patel, a 1992 Pharm.D. graduate and president/co-founder of Indegene TTM, will be the keynote speaker. Dr. Susan Miller, chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice, and Dr. Ajay Banga, chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, will cloak the 150 new students in their first white coats.

The College of Health Professions will hold a white coat ceremony for its 38 entering Doctor of Physical Therapy students on Aug. 15, 3 p.m., in Day Hall on the Cecil B. Day Campus.

For the first time, the College of Health Professions will also hold pinning ceremonies for its Master of Public Health students on the Atlanta and Macon campuses. The Atlanta ceremony will take place on Aug. 20, 12 p.m., in the Trustees Dining Room, and the Macon ceremony will take place on Aug. 22, 12 p.m., in the Religious Life Center.

First-year medical students will participate in two School of Medicine white coat ceremonies on the Macon and Savannah campuses.

The Savannah ceremony will take place on Aug. 23, 11 a.m., in Mercer Auditorium of the Hoskins Building. Dr. Mark E. Murphy, president of the Georgia Medical Society, will be the keynote speaker. Dr. William F. Bina III, dean of the School of Medicine, and Dr. Samuel D. Murray, associate dean for admissions, will cloak the 45 participants.

The Macon ceremony will take place on Aug. 30, 1 p.m., in Willingham Auditorium. Dr. Bruce Innes, professor emeritus of surgery, will be the keynote speaker, and Dr. Guy Foulkes, assistant professor of surgery, will cloak the 65 participants.

The white coat ceremony was designed by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation as a way to welcome new students into the medical profession and to set clear expectations regarding their primary role as physicians by professing an oath. Today, the ceremony emphasizes the importance of compassionate care as well as scientific proficiency. The first white coat ceremony took place in 1993 at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. Since then, more than half of the nation’s medical schools have had some form of white coat ceremony.

About the Mercer University Health Sciences Center

The Mercer Health Sciences Center became operational on July 1, 2012, and includes four academic colleges – medicine, pharmacy, nursing, and health professions. The Center enrolls more than 1,700 students, employs more than 400 full-time faculty and staff, and graduates more than 500 physicians, nurses and nurse educators, physician assistants, pharmacists, physical therapists, family therapists, public health professionals, and biomedical scientists each year. The Center’s commitment is to integrate professional education among its future health science professionals by eliminating the traditional silos that have divided them. The Center believes this team-based and patient-centered approach to training health care professionals best serves the needs of patients and ultimately saves money, time and lives. For more information about the Center, please visit