The Department of Nursing formally welcomed the Class of 2022 on Oct. 5 with its annual White Coat Ceremony in Ira Allen Chapel. The ceremony signifies the beginning of undergraduate and direct-entry graduate students’ nursing careers and features the distribution of symbolic white coats worn by health care professionals worldwide.

Department Chair Rosemary Dale welcomed the students and their families and explained the significance of the garment they would receive.

“The white coat conveys identity, status and belonging. It is also a utilitarian tool for carrying an iPad, phone, pen and credit card. And it is a symbol of the promise that each wearer has made to heal and to care,” said Dale.

In all, 121 undergraduate and 22 graduate students crossed the stage to receive their coats. The students pledged to act with compassion, exercise sound professional judgement and protect the health, safety and rights of patients.

Dale instructed the students to reach into the pockets of their new white coats to find pins emblazoned with a gold Mobius loop symbolizing the continuous bond of trust and respect for their patients. Each coat pocket also contained a card with a message of encouragement written by a College of Nursing and Health Sciences alumnus.

Dale then presented Carol Greenburg, Nursing '63 with the Janet T. Austin Nursing Alumnus Award, commending her “philanthropy, unbridled enthusiasm and lifelong service in nursing.”

“When I was 18 years old starting nursing school, I had no idea where my career would take me. You have to pay attention to your heart and find your passion,” Greenburg said. “There’s no better place to begin this journey than the University of Vermont College of Nursing and Health Sciences.”


Janet Lynn Essman Franz
Esther Matos ’19 helps a fellow nursing student put on his white coat.
First-year nursing students celebrate the start of their nursing career following the 2018 White Coat Ceremony.