ST. BONAVENTURE — Twenty-four graduate students made history at St. Bonaventure University Friday as the university held its first “White Coat Ceremony” for the inaugural class of its physician assistant studies program.
“The most important element of the ceremony is the oath that students take in front of family members, their faculty, their peers, to acknowledge that central obligation of truly caring for the patient,” said Father Dominic Monti, as he delivered the invocation at the ceremony. “This is very consistent with our mission here at St. Bonaventure, because our patron taught us, ‘there is no knowledge without love.’”
The ceremony marked a rite of passage for the students to become health care providers. Before entering their clinical phase, the students are cloaked with an iconic symbol of professionalism and trust — the white coat. The cohort has completed its first semester and the next phase of the students’ education will be interacting with actual patients at various clinical sites.
“We are very proud of our students,” Dr. Keith Young, founding director of the physician assistant studies program, said. “They have successfully completed one of the most difficult parts of their education to become physician assistants and deserve this recognition.”
The program welcomed its first cohort of students in January 2021. The program is housed in historic Francis Hall, which underwent more than $17.5 million in renovations in 2020-21 to be utilized by the School of Health Professions.