It was an evening of bright smiles and celebration at UCSF School of Dentistry’s 24th White Coat Ceremony. Eighty Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) students graced the stage at historic Herbst Theatre in San Francisco, each receiving a traditional white medical coat, an important milestone marking the start of their entry into the dental profession.
The Class of 2026 and the International Dentist Pathway (IDP) Class of 2024 were cheered on by an audience of family and friends, whose claps filled every inch of the auditorium. Hundreds more tuned in on a YouTube livestream.
School of Dentistry Dean Michael Reddy, DMD, DMSc, offered words of inspiration to each student on their big night. “You are the future of American health care,” he said. “I encourage you to take up the challenges and meet them with great resolve and enthusiasm.”
Dr. Rolando Bercasio, DDS, president of the UCSF Dental Alumni Association, was the keynote speaker. He shared stories about his dental career and experience at his alma mater. The night was then capped off with the traditional clinic induction pledge, followed by photos of the students with colleagues, family and friends.
This year’s cohort of students is smaller than past years and reflects one aspect of the school’s strategy to improve clinical dental education. While smaller in size, the class is one of the most racially and ethnically diverse cohorts of students admitted in the school’s history.
Though the White Coat Ceremony was the ceremonial start of dental school, students have already been getting acclimated to their new school and classmates. This summer, four incoming students participated in the newly expanded Dental Student Research Fellowship Program, an opportunity to participate in mentored research on a topic of importance to dentistry. And last month, first-year Black students attended Welcome Weekend, an annual event to provide networking opportunities and connect students with mentors and supporters from UCSF and beyond.
Additional orientation activities were organized over two weeks and included memorable activities such as visiting the anatomy lab, picking up scrubs and getting acquainted with their dental instruments and workstation in the Fleming Lab – a place where they will learn and grow over the next two years before entering their clinical years.
UCSF School of Dentistry wishes all students the best of luck in this academic year and beyond.