A Warm Welcome and White Coats for the Class of 2020

August 8, 2016
A Warm Welcome and White Coats for the Class of 2020
Photo: Steve Lipofsky

During the first week of August, Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) welcomed a new class of Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) students. The Class of 2020 is made up of 35 talented individuals who were chosen from more than 1,000 applicants. The incoming class includes 21 women and 14 men representing 19 states and 27 different undergraduate institutions.

The new dental students participated in orientation events throughout the week, along with their Harvard Medical School (HMS) classmates. On the morning of Tuesday, August 2, they were addressed by acting HMS dean, Barbara McNeil, and HSDM dean Bruce Donoff.

“You come here at a wonderful time in the history of medicine,” McNeil said as she welcomed the 200 members of the HMS and HSDM Class of 2020. “There is no better place to do work in the fields you’ll be working in, than the community you’ll find here.”

Dean Donoff echoed McNeil’s sentiments and spoke about the importance of oral health as a vital part of primary care.  

“I call Harvard an unconventional dental school,” Donoff said. “Today, the fact that you medical and dental students begin your journey together emphasizes that…Your education for lifelong learning and helping people begins today.”

After initial introductions, the students had lunch with their academic societies and had a chance to try on their white coats for the first time. They also met HSDM senior tutors Samuel Coffin, Cannon Society; Armando Pardo, Castle Society; Maha Almusa, Holmes Society; and Dr. Aram Kim, Peabody Society. 

The week concluded with the Dean’s White Coat Ceremony held on Friday, August 5, on the HMS Quad. Surrounded by family and friends, students took the stage one at a time to introduce themselves. Donning their white coats, a symbol of their commitment to learning the art and science of medicine, they pledged the HMS/HSDM Class of 2020 Oath. The Oath reminds the future dentists and doctors to “Breathe together, watch together, be together and pause,” as they embark on the rigorous academic journey ahead.

Following the ceremony, a special tea was held in the HSDM Research and Education Building (REB) in honor of the new DMD students and their families. 

View a photo gallery from the week of events.

See also: Students