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Symbolism to Mark Start of School Year for Western University's New Physical Therapy Students

by Rodney Tanaka

December 11, 2000

Read 2 mins

Members of Western University: A Graduate University of Medical Science’s

Master of Physical Therapy (MPT) class of 2003, will don their white lab

coats for the first time in a special campus ceremony at noon, Sunday,

January 7.

The white coat has come to symbolize the wearer as a caregiver. To wear

the garment is to accept responsibility for someone else’s well being.

Putting it on for the first time is a symbolic moment for health

professionals-in-training, one that many health professions universities

such as Western University now celebrate.

Entering members of the University’s other health professions programs

have their white coat ceremonies during the University’s Welcome Week in

August. The University’s MPT students matriculate in January and so a

special white coat ceremony is held for them just a few days into the

start of their program.

It is here that the students – before friends, family and faculty – slip

into their white lab coats and recite the “”Pledge of Commitment,”” a

promise to work toward becoming competent and compassionate health care


“”White coat ceremonies serve as a wonderful starting point for our

students as they begin their health care careers,”” said Donna Redman-

Bentley, PhD, PT, chair, Physical Therapy Education Department. “”Donning

that white lab coat is a powerful reminder of the privileges and

responsibilities they are undertaking.””

Western University’s Master of Physical Therapy program was launched in

1992 and is housed in the College of Allied Health Professions. The

program takes two years and four months to complete and prepares the

graduate to become a physical therapist generalist with education in all

areas of practice, including clinical practice, clinical research,

publications, public presentations and teaching.

For more information on the Master of Physical Therapy program, contact

the University’s Office of Admissions at (909) 469-5541.


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