KYCO’s class of 2022 receives symbolic white coat

The University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Optometry (KYCO) held its White Coat Ceremony for the Class of 2022 on Sunday, August 23, 2020, via livestream. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event was closed to the public.

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 2022 will apply their knowledge in the clinical setting. 

Third-year students at KYCO were “coated” in the presence of their peers and KYCO faculty by Cliff Caudill, O.D., KYCO assistant dean of clinical affairs and Donald Egan, O.D., FAAO, DPNAP, associate dean for academic affairs and professor of optometry. 

Dean Michael Bacigalupi, O.D., M.S., FAAO, FNAP, welcomed students and viewers from across the country through livestream. 

“The class of 2022 is special, and they’ll always be special to me,” said Bacigalupi. “We started KYCO at the same time,  in 2018. We all arrived on UPIKE’s campus to begin a journey at KYCO. This is a hardworking, talented, caring group of students who I know will become caring doctors of optometry.”

UPIKE President Burton J. Webb, Ph.D., and Provost Lori Werth, Ph.D., congratulated students on this significant occasion. 

Egan also spoke to students about the history and the significance that the white coat holds. 

William T. Reynolds, O.D., served as the keynote speaker for the ceremony. Reynolds is the current president of the American Optometric Association’s Board of Trustees. In addition to his role as president, Reynolds serves as the chair of the executive committee and serves on the personnel committee. He is the liaison trustee for the American Academy of Optometry, Great Western Council of Optometry, North Central States Optometric Council, Southern Council of Optometrists, East/West Eye Conference and Universidad InterAmericana. 

Prior to his election to the board, Reynolds served on the AOA Pediatrics and Binocular Vision Committee and spoke at the AOA’s School Readiness Summit. He has also served on the AOA State Government Relations Center Executive Committee. Reynolds has been active in the Kentucky Optometric Association for more than 25 years. 

Reynolds spoke to KYCO’s class of 2022 about the optometric profession, where it’s been, where it is and where it’s going. Reynolds spoke to the innovation and evolution of optometry in the U.S. and Kentucky with its adoption of an expanded scope of practice in 2011. Reynolds also reminded students that the education they receive at KYCO is exceptional and gives them a unique advantage.

In closing, Reynolds gave students a challenge as they begin not only their clinical training but their career. 

“Be involved,” said Reynolds. “Being involved moves your profession forward; It moves you forward personally, and most importantly, it moves the care of your patients forward.”

The ceremony was followed by an outdoor socially-distanced reception to honor KYCO’s Class of 2022.

KYCO's class of 2022 reciting the conduct pledge during the socially-distanced ceremony
KYCO’s class of 2022 reciting the KYCO professional conduct pledge during their white coat ceremony