The Class of 2021 Begins Their Journey at HSDM

August 7, 2017
Class of 2021

Orientation began the first week of August, as Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) welcomed a new class of Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) students. The talented group of 35 were chosen from more than 1,000 applicants—representing under 5% of the applicant pool. The incoming class includes 17 women and 18 men hailing from 18 different states and representing 29 different undergraduate institutions.

On the morning of Monday, July 31, Associate Dean for Dental Education Sang Park, and Dean Bruce Donoff greeted the students.

“I am pleased to welcome you, the Class of 2021. You represent the very best applicants to dental schools…selected for values and hopes that set you apart, along with your abilities and potential,” Donoff said.

Donoff noted the significance of School’s 150th anniversary and the legacy the students will soon join.

“You enter a place that has an extraordinary record of achievement for our profession. The possibilities during your four years here are endless. We are here to provide you with a rich learning environment so take advantage of it. Explore, search out, and question,” he said.

The new dental students joined their Harvard Medical School (HMS) classmates to participate in joint orientation activities.

HMS Dean George Daley addressed the combined class of HMS and HSDM students, in his first orientation as dean.

“We are starting this journey together,” Daley said as he welcomed the 200 new MD and DMD students. “You are a remarkably gifted set of individuals drawn to this great community. We’re all here because we have a genuine interest in helping others.”

Helping others was a theme throughout orientation. Students toured community health centers in Boston’s underserved communities, from Chelsea to Roxbury. They met with local community leaders and learned first hand about the health care challenges residents face. They also attended their first patient clinic at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where they heard directly from patients about their personal stories and struggles with illness.  

The week concluded with the White Coat Ceremony on Friday, August 4, held on the Quad. Students joined family and friends to celebrate receiving their white coats.

“This White Coat Ceremony represents three things:  ritual, professionalism, and most importantly trust. This white coat means trust between you and another human being, so that you can help them and they can tell you things they might not tell anyone else,” Dean Donoff said.

The Class of 2021 took the stage one at a time to introduce themselves and thank their families. Together, they recited an oath the class composed in which they pledged empathy, compassion, inclusivity, creativity and collaboration in advancing patient care and alleviating human suffering.

Watch a video of the White Coat Ceremony

See also: Students