A look back at the 15th Annual White Coat Ceremony

IMG_8742 It’s one of the most important events of the year in the Faculty of Dentistry. The excitement and emotions in the room are always palpable. And this year was no different. Students, their loved ones, donors, faculty and staff gathered to honour the third year dental class through the donning of white coats and celebrate the passage from the classroom to the clinic. The evening was also a recognition of the excellence and talent in the Faculty. Various awards for academic and teaching excellence were bestowed by Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Sharohkh Esfandiari and Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, Dr. Maryam Tabrizian, including a tribute to donors delivered by Iain Hart (DMD 2017).  

Johanna Pham WCC

This year’s Howard Katz Excellence for Teaching Award was presented to Dr. Johanne Pham who expressed to the audience her appreciation for the recognition as well as her affection for the Faculty stating “You’re my second family”. After a lively opening cocktail in the stained-glass and warm wooden setting of Redpath Hall, guests took their seats for the ceremony. Dean Paul Allison and Associate Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Sharohkh Esfandiari, welcomed everyone before leaving the floor to keynote speaker, Dr. Robert Primavesi, an Emergency Physician at the Montreal General Hospital and Montreal Children’s Hospital sites of the McGill University Health Centre. Dr. Primavesi offered professional and life advice to students in a moving address which encouraged them to go beyond the call of duty, remain humble, always strive to keep learning and persevere. “It’s the courage to continue that counts. So take risks and learn from your mistakes”, he explained. Student representatives Ryan Siciliano (DMD 2018) and Nicole van der Wal (DMD 2017) also had the opportunity to address the audience with some reflections on what this occasion meant to them: “Tonight is not about us. For the first time everyone who makes this experience possible for us is here under one roof…Your support is immeasurable” explained, Siciliano.     

Dr. Robert Primavesi delivers his address

The evening’s most awaited moment came later when fourth year dental students presented their “little sibs” in third year with their clinical attire. Warm embraces and proud smiles were exchanged as students put on their white coats for the first time before colleagues, professors, family and friends. Some even had family that travel all the way from Korea to witness the special moment. The joy was without a doubt contagious as one parent remarked after the ceremony: “I was also encouraged to see the students brimming with such excitement as they move forward in their journey – smiles were plentiful!  I think our health care future is in good hands with them!”. Finally, the evening was sealed with another long-time tradition: Dr. John Blomfield guiding students as they took their pledge on stage.  


Congratulations to all award recipients and third year students as they embark on this exciting new chapter in their dental training.  

See all the photos from the evening here Watch students taking their White Coat pledge here Read Dr. Primavesi’s address here Read the official program here    

Back to top