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Class of 2026 receives white coats at special ceremony

It's a new era for future pharmacists at West Virginia University. Coming off the heels of New Student Orientation Week, the Class of 2026 received their white coats on Saturday, August 13, at a special ceremony in the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center.

The white coat ceremony signifies a student's entry into pharmacy school and a commitment to be future healthcare professionals who will develop, deliver, and monitor medications to improve their patient's health, well-being, and quality of life.

Dr. William Petros, the WVU School of Pharmacy dean, addressed the new cohort before the presentation. He encouraged them to develop a robust support system with classmates and use the Pledge of Professionalism as a guiding beacon for the next four years and beyond.

Dr. Heather Johnson, assistant professor of clinical pharmacy and Class of 2026 advisor, led the group in the Pledge of Professionalism. Dr. Jeremy Prunty and Dr. Leesa Prunty shared remarks on behalf of the School of Pharmacy Alumni association. Drs. Ahmad Hanif, assistant professor, and Kimberly Kelly, professor, assisted with the donning of the white coats, and Associate Dean Dr. Mary Euler provided opening and closing remarks.

A snapshot of the Class of 2026 shows 20 students are from West Virginia; thirteen are from the neighboring state of Pennsylvania; three are from Virginia; and one each comes from Maryland, New York and Puerto Rico. Two are from outside the U.S., namely Kuwait and France. Eighteen have a bachelor's degree in majors such as agriculture, animal sciences, biology, biochemistry, chemistry, psychology, geology, physical sciences, natural sciences and neuroscience. A number of those degrees came with cum laude, magna cum laude or summa cum laude Latin Honors designations. Three already have master’s degrees. Their overall college GPA is 3.5.

Classes begin on August 15 at the WVU School of Pharmacy.

The coats are donated by loved ones, faculty, staff, alumni, student pharmacists and friends. A note of encouragement from the sponsor is placed in the pocket of each one. If you are interested in sponsoring a white coat for a future ceremony, contact the School's Director of Development Kevin Tephabock at