On Friday, January 29th, Pitt Pharmacy’s class of 2024 participated in the cherished tradition of the White Coat Ceremony. During this special rite of passage, students typically recite a standard pledge aloud. The purpose of the pledge is to make a vow of professionalism, morality, and dedication to the practice of pharmacy.

White Coat Ceremony Picture

As the original Pledge of Professionalism1 for pharmacists states, “The profession of pharmacy is one that demands adherence to a set of rigid ethical standards.” This year, PittPharmacy students took it upon themselves to elevate those standards even further – by making some timely and important additions to the pledge they committed to. In response to recent events in America – including the COVID-19 crisis, racial injustice, political tension, and the ongoing disparities in healthcare – the first year students wrote a bold, new preamble to the pledge.

The traditional pledge mandates that members of the profession “develop a sense of loyalty and duty…by being a builder of the community, one able and willing to contribute to the well-being of others…” The students exemplified this call to action in their written addendum, by reflecting on the many ways in which they plan to specifically address the inequities that exist today. In their own words, as they start on the pathway to becoming pharmacists, they declared that “…in 2020, a year pervaded by the COVID-19 pandemic with its loss of lives and livelihoods, a national recognition of civil rights activism, and divisive politics, my pledge to inclusion, unprejudiced compassion, and equity is more important than ever.” The students went on, taking turns identifying specific injustices and addressing the ways they planned to right those wrongs in their own course of practice. They gave a moving and spirited presentation – leaving everyone within earshot filled with pride and confidence that the next generation of pharmacists will continue to be an inspiration to us all.

Click here to see the class read the new version of the pledge at the White Coat Ceremony

Read more about this story in The Pitt News


  1. Developed by the American Pharmaceutical Association Academy of Students of Pharmacy/American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy Council of Deans (APhA-ASP/AACP-COD) Task Force on Professionalism; June 26, 1994

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