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Class of 2026 to Begin Clinical Rotations Following White Coat Ceremony

Class of 2026 to begin clinical rotations following White Coat Ceremony

The MCW School of Pharmacy celebrated the Class of 2026 White Coat Ceremony on Thursday, October 5, 2023. The rite of passage marks the transition from student to “student pharmacist.” The white coat is an outward sign of the commitment of future pharmacists to professionalism, respect, integrity, and caring – hallmarks of the pharmacy profession.

“Today when you put on your white coat, remember that this garment is emblematic of being a healthcare provider,” said George E. MacKinnon III, PhD, MS, RPh, FASHP, FNAP, founding dean and professor. “It acts as a beacon for others to seek you out. By wearing your white coat, you intimate that you are a capable practitioner (albeit in training) who contributes to the wellbeing of others.”

Following the White Coat Ceremony, students begin their Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences, often referred to as “IPPE rotations,” where they will put their classroom knowledge into practice at various clinical settings. Throughout their first and second year of the three-year PharmD curriculum, students are on rotations every Friday. In their third year, they progress to Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPEs), often referred to as “APPE rotations,” where they are immersed in the practice setting full-time.

Jennifer Erickson, 2025 PharmD candidate and president of the Pharmacy Student Alliance, offered advice for her classmates to take advantage of opportunities that come their way.

“You never know what door a project, volunteer activity, student organization or job could open up for you, and these opportunities can build connections that will benefit you later down the road,” said Erickson. The keynote speaker was Rocky LaDien, area healthcare supervisor at Walgreens, who has been part of the pharmacy profession for 46 years.

“It’s an exciting time for you to be an active leader in our world of pharmacy,” said LaDien. “New pharmaceutical research regarding drug therapies, advances in our comprehensive approach to patient healthcare and, more importantly, a further building of camaraderie in our healthcare disciplines are all but a few of the opportunities that lie ahead for each of you.”

Emily Hansen, PharmD, a pharmacist at the Children’s Wisconsin Skywalk Pharmacy, led the Oath of a Pharmacist. She is an alumna of the MCW School of Pharmacy’s inaugural Class of 2020.

The ceremony concluded with the presentation of the inaugural Excellence in Interdisciplinary Collegiality Award, which recognizes an individual, group of individuals, or organization who has made significant contributions to the School of Pharmacy in having a positive impact on education, research or clinical service partnerships. The award was presented to Rebecca Lundh, MD, recognizing her time spent as medical director of the Saturday Clinic for the Uninsured, and Jessica Schnell, MD, a physician with MCW who practices at Children’s Wisconsin.