Western University of Health Sciences will celebrate the beginning of the academic year at its annual Convocation and white coat ceremonies Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012 at Fairplex, Building 4, 1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona, Calif.

The keynote speaker will be Diana S. Dooley, who was appointed Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency by Gov. Jerry Brown in December 2010. Prior to leading the agency, Dooley was President and Chief Executive Officer of the California Children’s Hospital Association, which is an advocate for the eight regional nonprofit children’s hospitals in California. These hospitals provide nearly 40 percent of all inpatient hospital care for children in the state.

Convocation begins at 8:30 a.m., followed by individual white coat ceremonies for each college. All events are only open to students, their families and invited guests. For a complete list of activities, visit http://www.westernu.edu/students-new-welcome.

Convocation marks WesternU’s annual opening of the academic year, and the white coat ceremony marks students’ entry into the health professions. WesternU will welcome about 1,050 new students to its Pomona campus. COMP-Northwest in Lebanon, Ore. will welcome 107 new students at its Convocation ceremony Aug. 4.

“At WesternU, you will learn the skills needed to become one of the finest health-care professionals working in your field. Just as important, you will be a student of the WesternU philosophy, which follows a humanistic model and advocates compassionate care for all who seek it,” said WesternU President Philip Pumerantz, PhD, in addressing new students. “You will, in short, become a people person, embracing the wholeness of each patient you see, and of each person you encounter. Your heart and mind will be set on improving your patients’ health and the health of the entire community you serve, and you will have the technical know-how to make it happen.”