Over 100 students honored as part of the 2025 class; The WSU took over the practice in 1999
EMMA LED BETTER
WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine held its 22nd annual white coat ceremony on Thursday to honor the class of 2025.
Since 1999, the College of Veterinary Medicine has welcomed new students with this ceremony where students receive their clinical white coats and take the veterinarian’s oath. Charlie Powell, senior public information officer for the College of Veterinary Medicine, said the ceremony worked as a formal welcome to the profession while emphasizing the symbolic importance of the white coat.
Dr. Arnold Gold of Columbia University originally began the white coat ceremony in 1993. Gold believed that medical students should take the Hippocratic Oath when they begin their training for the profession, rather than after completing their training, as was the custom at the time.
“His thought was that we should take the oath for them the first day they come here because any information they receive, or anything else, is as confidential today as it will be in four years when they graduate,” said Powell. “Your responsibility as a professional must also be exactly the same. So let’s start by getting them involved in the job and making it clear to them that we are their mentors, but we’re also here to make them our colleagues. “
The WSU became the first veterinary program to take over this practice in 1999 when Dr. Gil Burns, who was the assistant dean at the time, brought the ceremony to Pullman. This year’s ceremony was held in a hybrid format so that supporters from abroad could watch via a livestream on Youtube.
Jace Enwards was one of over 100 students honored at the ceremony at Beasley Coliseum on Thursday. Over 250 parents, grandparents, and friends watched their loved ones take this next step toward a career in veterinary medicine.
Enwards is a Washington resident who landed in Pullman after completing his bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Montana State University. He said it was a monumental moment for him and his colleagues to have the white coat on his shoulders.
“Your entire first four years, everything you do is with the intention of applying,” he said. “So the white coat ceremony was worth it. They put this coat on you and you just think, ‘Oh, I did it; Actually, I’m where I want to be. ‘”
Enwards grew up in the Goldendale, Washington, rural town and hopes to open his own clinic in a similar rural town after completing his education. He said he values the community spirit a small town offers and wants to serve both ranchers and animal owners.
Siena Mowrer is another member of the Class of 2025 recognized at Thursday’s ceremony. She grew up in New Mexico and received her bachelor’s degree in animal science from New Mexico State University. She applied for eight veterinary science programs but chose WSU because of the support and community spirit that the program offers.
“I was just one of those kids who wanted to be a vet since I was four,” said Mowrer. “My mother always gave me little books on veterinary medicine for children and the like.
Mowrer said she was proud to be one of the many women getting into veterinary medicine. The class of 2025 is predominantly female, as are most veterinarians in the United States. There are several theories about this, but Powell pointed out that none of the theories stand up to scrutiny.
“I’m just very grateful to be here and very grateful to Washington and the support they are providing,” Mowrer said. “The employees already call us their colleagues and we feel welcome and think: ‘Okay, we made it here. This is where we should be. ‘”