DWU holds White Coat Ceremony for Class of 2022

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Dakota Wesleyan University hosted its inaugural White Coat Ceremony on Thursday, Jan. 9, honoring first-year nursing students and denoting their official acceptance into the DWU nursing program. 

Twenty-three nursing students came forward during the ceremony to be “cloaked” and recited an oath before family and friends in the iconic white coat that signifies their status as healthcare professionals.

The White Coat Ceremony was initiated in 1993 at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons by Dr. Arnold P. Gold, who was a professor and pediatric neurologist. Dr. Gold, a passionate advocate for humanistic healthcare, believed that the oath taken by new physicians at the end of medical school came too late. Through the nonprofit organization that he and his wife, Dr. Sandra Gold, started, The Arnold P. Gold Foundation has expanded the White Coat Ceremony around the globe.

“The White Coat Ceremony, made possible by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, provides an outstanding opportunity to honor our incoming nursing students. The ceremony highlights human connection and sets the stage for building futures based on compassionate care from the very beginning of their nursing careers,” said DWU Nursing Department Chair, Dr. Stacy Eden. 

Today, nearly every medical school in the United States, hundreds of nursing schools and many other health profession schools around the globe participate in this tradition of humanistic care. 

 “The White Coat Ceremony to me is an extremely big accomplishment. Being a nurse is something that I have wanted to do for a long time and to [officially] be accepted into the nursing program was super exciting,” said DWU nursing student, Emily Lord.

“Personally, this ceremony is exciting because it reinforces how much of an honor it is to enter the nursing program. This is our first real step into the program, and our advisors have stressed the importance of being organized, focused and working hard. I’m excited to dive in and continue to develop my love and respect for this profession,” said fellow nursing student, Sage Pulse.

“Our program offers our students numerous opportunities to connect with others and it is our goal to help them create powerful and meaningful experiences from the very beginning. The White Coat Ceremony marks the beginning of this journey,” said Eden.   


The 2020 White Coat Ceremony at DWU was supported with a grant from The Gold Foundation generously given by Board trustee, Elaine Adler, and administered through a partnership with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).


The Gold Foundation engages schools and their students in the joy and meaning of humanistic healthcare, so that patients and their families can be partners in collaborative, compassionate and scientifically excellent care.

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 “The trust and communication created with a patient is a defining factor in the path to healing,” said President and CEO of The Gold Foundation, Dr. Richard Levin. “The White Coat Ceremony reinforces the importance of a deep human connection as students begin their journey to patients and modern healthcare.” 


The following nursing students were honored during the ceremony:  


Tayven Aga – Spearfish

Vanessa Burger – Mitchell

Hailey Crawford – Aberdeen

Skyler Ducheneaux – Mitchell

Cassidy Gosmire – Canova

Kaitlyn Greenhoff – Dell Rapids

Alexis Gregerson – Tripp

Laura Hare – Mitchell

Kaylee Kirk – Balaton, Minn.

Brendan Langbehn – Worthing

Emily Lord – Huron

Allison McElveny – Chula Vista, Calif.

Ryan Norcia – Anthem, Ariz.

Kayla Picht – Mitchell, SD

Ammara Prom – Mitchell

Sage Pulse – Kimball

Mary Reider – Wessington Springsa

Talisa Smith – Pierre

Holly VanWyk – Alcester

Leslie Vinderslev – Wessington Springs

Miranda Voelker – Sioux Falls

Abby VonEye – Alpena

Kaylie Zens – Mitchell