KYCO’s Class of 2021 receives symbolic white coat

The University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Optometry (KYCO) held its White Coat Ceremony for the Class of 2021 on Saturday, May 11, 2019. The event was held in Booth Auditorium on UPIKE’s campus.

The White Coat Ceremony is symbolic within the health professions, reflecting a commitment to patient care. After two years of a rigorous classroom and procedure lab curriculum, the Class of 2021 will apply their knowledge in the clinical setting.

Second-year students at KYCO were “coated” in the presence of family members, friends and the campus community by Cliff Caudill, O.D., KYCO assistant dean of clinical affairs.

“Our White Coat Ceremony is held after our students complete two years of pre-clinical training, which is capped off by a clinical checkout exam performed on an actual standardized patient,” said Caudill. “We feel this gives our students not only a goal to strive for in their pre-clinical training, but a sense of accomplishment and reward when they receive their coat. Sharing it with friends and family adds a personal connection and a chance for their loved ones to join them in their success. Good luck to the Class of 2021 as they enter this important phase of their training.”

J. Max Ernst, O.D., served as keynote speaker for the ceremony. Ernst is the current president of the Southeast Council of Optometry and has served on the executive committee since 2015. With philanthropy as a cornerstone of his career, Ernst served as Chairman of Vision USA, an optometric charity, from 2005 to 2015 and was the founding member of the American Optometric Association’s Disaster Relief Committee in 1998. In addition, Ernst was named Kentucky Optometric Association’s Optometrist of the Year in 2000 for his work as President and Legislative Chair which led to Kentucky’s insurance access laws. 

The ceremony was followed by a reception to honor KYCO’s Class of 2021.

Sandra Maria Rugama, University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Optometry student, receives her symbolic white coat signifying her entry into clinical training.

Sandra Maria Rugama, KYCO student, receives her symbolic white coat signifying her entry into clinical training.

To view a complete photo gallery from the ceremony, click here.