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DDS White Coat Ceremony Welcomes 100 to UTSD

Thursday, August 15, 2013 - 5:38pm

First-year dental student Bonner Morren and other students get their white coats from UTSD Alumni Association Executive Director Tricia Fullerton before the ceremony Saturday. See more photos on Flickr. Photos by Brian Schnupp.

First-year dental student Bonner Morren and his classmates get their white coats from UTSD Alumni Association Executive Director Tricia Fullerton before the ceremony Saturday. See more event photos by Brian Schnupp on Flickr.

The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston welcomed a new class of dental students to their new roles as health care professionals in the traditional White Coat Ceremony Aug. 10, sponsored by the UTSD Alumni Association, the UTSD Family & Friends Association and the American College of Dentists.

The nearly 100 students and their families filled the Denton A. Cooley, MD and Ralph C. Cooley, DDS University Life Center, with an overflow audience watching the ceremony via streaming video in classrooms at the adjacent dental school.

Dean John A. Valenza, DDS, encouraged the students to embrace the challenges before them.  “Your white coats – which display the emblem of The University of Texas School of Dentistry – represent your place alongside the faculty, staff and other students of this institution as we continue our pursuit to be the best,” he said.  

The keynote speaker was Houston general dentist W. Kenneth Horwitz, DDS, a Class of 1961 alumnus of UTSD. Others who addressed the students included Family & Friends Association President Pam Sowa, UTSD Alumni Association President Jerry Katz, DDS, and Philip Pierpont, DDS, associate dean for student and alumni affairs.

The dental Class of 2017 includes 100 students who will commit the next four years to earning a doctor of dental surgery degree.  The class is 55 percent male, 45 percent female, and 28 percent are from historically underrepresented minorities.  All but one (from Utah) are Texas residents, and they have degrees from 35 different universities, led by UT-Austin, Texas A&M, the University of Houston, UT-Dallas and Texas Tech University.