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Dental white coat ceremony showcases Class of 2024

The Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine hosted its 20th annual White Coat Ceremony on Friday, Oct. 8, in the Hatheway Cultural Center at Lewis & Clark Community College in Godfrey. The ceremony celebrated the second-year cohort of 50 dental students representing the Class of 2024, as well as an additional six International Advanced Placement Program dental students who will graduate with the Class of 2022.

“The White Coat Ceremony is an important event at the School of Dental Medicine, with a purpose that’s two-fold,” said SIU SDM Dean Bruce Rotter, DMD. “First, it recognizes our students in their path to becoming quality practitioners in the profession of dentistry. Second, and most importantly, it reaffirms the students’ commitment to their patients, the profession and the ethical standards that we embrace.”

SIUE Chancellor Randy Pembrook offered the keynote address. He began by expressing his gratitude for Dean Rotter’s outstanding years of service to SIUE and the SIU SDM. Rotter will retire in December 2021. Pembrook has also announced his retirement, effective June 2022.

“The SIU School of Dental Medicine has a rich legacy of community service and excellent, experienced-based, hands-on education,” Pembrook noted. “Thank you, Dr. Rotter, and thank you faculty and staff for your role in that accomplishment.”

Pembrook went on to address the students with a theme of “Adjusting to Life’s Challenges.” With great wit and insight, he shared why adversity exists and the keys to overcoming it.

“Adversity exists to remind us to ask, ‘Why did I start down this path?’” said Pembrook. “Along with the question of why, adversity sometimes exists to address the questions of when or who. Who am I? What strengths do I bring to this task? What gaps do I most need to develop to fully realize my potential?”

“Good things will happen,” he offered assuredly. “Keep working, and believe in tomorrow. I know you will do well. When life gives you adversity: pause, question, self-assess and learn.”

The SIU SDM White Coat Ceremony was sponsored by the Central Illinois Academy of General Dentistry, Illinois Section of the American College of Dentists, Illinois State Dental Society Foundation and the Eighth District of the International College of Dentists.

SIU School of Dental Medicine students manage approximately 35,000 patient visits each year at patient clinics in Alton and East St. Louis. In addition, students offer oral health treatment, screenings and education to more than 10,000 people annually through a wide variety of off-campus community outreach events. These opportunities provide students the training they need to graduate.

PHOTO: The SIU School of Dental Medicine’s 20th annual White Coat Ceremony celebrated 50 second-year dental students and six International Advanced Placement Program students.


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