Physician Assistant Studies Program Welcomes Class of 2020

The University of Saint Joseph celebrated the second annual White Coat Ceremony for the Physician Assistant (PA) Studies program on Friday, Jan. 5, 2018. As the Class of 2020 sat on stage in the Hoffman Auditorium, white coats in hand, they awaited their official induction into their PA Studies education.

Before the official presentation of coats, the ceremony began with an opening prayer from Beth Fischer, RSM, ’76, director of Community Engagement. President Rhona Free, Ph.D., followed, addressing the crowd and relaying the University’s excitement for the program and the significance of serving the community as a PA. The program’s Founding Director and Chair, Carrie Walker, MPAS, M.S., PA-C, concluded the speeches by discussing the preparation that led to the successful launch of the program.

“This evening’s ceremony celebrates not only the beginning of a long course of study for our students, but continues to give life to the more than five years of planning and program development by the University administrators and trustees,” said Walker. “These students, who have earned their seats on this stage after being chosen from more than 500 applicants, must approach these next two years of training as their job.”

After explaining the white coat’s symbolism of professionalism and a commitment to patient care, Walker invited the program’s faculty members to begin the presentation of coats. One by one, faculty members from the PA Studies program helped students don their white coats.

Before the ceremony’s conclusion, Michael Mayo ’19, a student from the inaugural PA Studies class, led the Class of 2020 in the Physician Assistant Student Pledge, which touched upon the importance of ethical practice, a lifelong search for knowledge, and dedication to collaboration with peers.

With wide smiles and pristine white coats, the students processed out of the auditorium, concluding the ceremony and beginning a brief celebration with family before the start of their rigorous two-year program.

Congratulations to the Physician Assistant Studies Class of 2020!