Future dentists and hygienists mark their entry into the profession at White Coat Ceremonies

Two separate events were held to honor first-year and second-year students.
Future dentists and hygienists mark their entry into the profession at White Coat Ceremonies

Students recite the Dental Professional’s Pledge in unison at the afternoon ceremony honoring the DMD class of 2025 and DH class of 2023.

Whether sitting in the seats at the Louisville Palace or watching live on YouTube, hundreds of family and friends showed their support for dental students and dental hygiene students at two White Coat ceremonies events on Saturday, August 28. The first event, held at 10 a.m., honored members of the DMD class of 2024, Advanced Standing class of 2023 and Dental Hygiene class of 2022. These students were unable to have their White Coat Ceremony last year due to the pandemic. Later in the day, a separate ceremony was held for new students from the DMD class of 2025 and Dental Hygiene class of 2023. 

During the ceremony, students don their white coat and recite a pledge accepting responsibility to patients, the profession, and the community. Dr. Alma Ljaljevic-Tucakovic, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions, says “the ceremony of donning the white coat is a significant event for every future health care professional, because it signifies their entry into the field.” She adds that this year’s event was doubly special because it didn’t take place last year.  “We have realized how much we missed honoring our students with ceremony like this during last year when we could not gather.”

Emily McCormick from the DMD class of 2024 says the one-year delay was disappointing, but that COVID-19 has made her class stronger. “I believe my class is the most resilient class because we’ve jumped through so many hurdles over the whole COVID year. It’s an honor to have our white coats finally presented to us.” McCormick added that it was fun to see her classmates in a different way. “We’re usually in scrubs, no makeup, our hair’s not fixed. It’s good to see us all nice and looking all fresh!”

Mamdouh Yasin, who is also in the DMD class of 2024, says there is something else that makes their class special: its people. “The diversity in the class, the different people, the different personalities. We all come together.”


During both ceremonies, Dr. Ljaljevic-Tucakovic illustrated Yasin’s comment by reading a long list of states, territories and countries students call home. Besides Kentucky, the states sending the most students to ULSD are Florida, Michigan and Utah. One thing they have in common, she pointed out, is the hard work leading up to their admission. Out of more than 2,000 applicants, only 120 are selected for each DMD class. The average GPA is higher than 3.5 and the average DAT score is 20.


Veriah Armstrong, a member of the Dental Hygiene class of 2023, said putting on the white coat was a special moment – especially because her family was there to show support. “It’s so exciting,” she said. “I feel so honored.” Andrayia Bowman, also a member of the DH 2023 class, said it was also nice to share the experience with her classmates. “School is already kicking us on the floor, but as long as we’re together it’s fine.”

Both ceremonies ended with students reciting the Dental Professional’s Pledge in unison. This moment is important, Dr. Ljaljevic-Tucakovic says, because it “brings us back to our roots and reminds us why we are in this profession and what is our primary mission.”


View more photos:

Morning ceremony for DMD ’24, Advanced Standing ’23 and DH ’22: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmWwgdhQ

Afternoon ceremony for DMD ’25 and DH ’23: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmWwgmbR 


August 30, 2021