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White Coat Ceremony Marks New Milestone in Franklin Pierce University’s Physician Assistant Program

Dec 15, 2010

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December 15, 2010 - LEBANON, N.H. – It was standing room only at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center last week, as Franklin Pierce University celebrated its first White Coat Ceremony. The inaugural class of Franklin Pierce’s Physician Assistant’s program, located in their Lebanon center, celebrated the occasion with family, friends, dignitaries and faculty members.

The White Coat Ceremony is a tradition within the medical profession that marks students’ transition from classroom to clinical studies. During the ceremony, students were robed in the short white jackets they will wear during their clinical rotations. Once all students had been robed, the group stood to recite the Physician Assistant’s Oath impressing upon them their responsibilities as caring and compassionate health care providers and the importance of the physician assistant-patient relationship.

Dr. James Birge, President of Franklin Pierce University, welcomed all in attendance and spoke of the rich tradition embraced in the ceremony, “We are an institution of traditions and today’s ceremony marks another first in the University’s proud history.” In reflecting on the achievements of the program and students, Birge commented, “I want to acknowledge not only the individual accomplishments of our students and faculty, but the continued fulfillment of the University’s mission to educate leaders of conscience who go out into our communities and work to improve the lives of others.”

Franklin Pierce’s Physician Assistant program accepted its first class of students in 2009 while awaiting official notification of accreditation. Lisa Walker, the PA program’s Academic Director, thanked the students for their faith, patience and tremendous contributions to the formation and success of the program. “Your faith in us and the program has been a gift to me. As you don your white coat today, an outward symbol of a healer within the community, be assured of our faith in you to carry out your charge with honor and distinction.”

The Master of Physician Assistant Studies program is a full-time, 27-month program offered at Franklin Pierce University’s Lebanon campus. The program consists of both classroom and clinical study and operates with the goal of educating students from rural and underserved communities, particularly those in Vermont and New Hampshire, and returning them as skilled and compassionate clinicians to practice in these rural and underserved communities.

For more information about Franklin Pierce University’s Master of Physician Assistant Studies program go to

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