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D1s Receive White Coats, Welcomed to School & Dental Profession

Ann Arbor, MI — August 04, 2015 — The University of Michigan School of Dentistry’s Dental Class of 2019 received their white coats at a special ceremony at Rackham Auditorium July 29. The White Coat Ceremony marks the beginning of their clinical training and classroom education and officially welcomes them into the dental profession.

One hundred nine students, 64 men and 45 women, are members of the first-year dental class. Seventy-five are Michigan residents, 34 are non-residents. The 109 first-year dental students are approximately 5.8 percent of 1,874 individuals who applied.

Welcoming the students, their families and friends, Dean Laurie McCauley told students “you are surrounded by a world-class faculty and a world-class university” and urged them to embrace the school’s core values of compassion, leadership, excellence, responsibility, trust, creativity and inclusion.

“Step Up Your Efforts”

In his keynote address, Dr. Mark Johnston, Michigan Dental Association president, who earned his dental degree from U-M in 1985, lauded students for selecting dentistry as their career. “Being admitted to the dental school is just the beginning. Now you have to step up your efforts,” he said. “Being a dental professional never ends.” Reminding them of their responsibilities to their patients and the profession, he urged dental students to “do the right thing. Always. That goes a long way in building trust with patients and your peers.”

Dr. Steven Sulfaro, regent of the 9th District of the International College of Dentists, who also earned his DDS from U-M in 1985, told students that dentistry is a demanding profession and “the rigors you experience here will prepare you for challenges ahead.” He urged students to consider challenges as a benefit “because a path without obstacles leads to nowhere.”

Dr. Colleen DeLacy, vice president of the Michigan Academy of General Dentistry, was among the dignitaries who welcomed dental students to the dental profession as was Dr. Stephen Stefanac, clinical professor, senior associate dean, and associate dean for Patient Services at the School of Dentistry.

Stefanac urged dental students to plan, prepare and be willing to improve. Reflecting on his days as a dental student, Stefanac said, “Everything I learned was for a purpose, but it wasn’t immediately apparent what that purpose was until after graduation.” He also urged dental students, despite the time they spend with their studies, to take advantage of opportunities to be involved with student groups and participate in volunteer opportunities.

One of the 109 first-year dental students receiving a white coat was Anushey Pervez, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in dental hygiene last year from the School of Dentistry.

"When I started the dental hygiene program, I had no intention to continue onto dentistry. But I changed my mind," she said. "It was a difficult journey because I was taking required classes for dental hygiene as well as trying to complete the dentistry prerequisites. But I think being a dental hygienist and continuing onto dentistry will be rewarding."