New UNM Pharmacy Students Welcomed to Profession During First-Ever White Coat Ceremony

The UNM College of Pharmacy will officially welcome its new class of 80 students to the profession during the first-ever white coat ceremony held by the college.


The ceremony will take place on Friday, Aug. 22 at 5 p.m. at Rodey Theatre in the UNM Center for the Arts (across from the UNM Bookstore).


During the ceremony, UNM College of Pharmacy Dean John A. Pieper, Pharm.D., will present each student with a white coat, signifying their entrance into the pharmacy profession. Pieper said he decided to hold the ceremony, the first in the school's 58-year history, because it "conveys a true sense of commitment to professionalism to our entering students."


"I can really feel the sense of excitement from this class as they transition from undergraduate education to a professional program," said Pieper, who became dean of the college last November. "Having the ceremony underscores their commitment to life-long service to the public as a member of the healthcare provider team."


The class consists of 50 females and 30 males, with a race breakdown as follows: 36 White, 27 Hispanic, 11 Asian, five Native American and one African-American. Seventy of the 80 students are New Mexico residents, with more than half coming from outside Bernalillo County.


A special address to the entering students will be presented by Lisa LaMorte Tonrey, MHA, PhC, RPh, a captain in the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS), former UNM faculty member and President of the American Pharmacists Association. Tonrey will reflect on the ways that pharmacy has evolved and how upcoming pharmacists can help the profession meet its goals.


As members of the third largest health profession in the United States, pharmacists play a vital role in improving patient care through the medicine and information they provide. Moreover, pharmacists are consistently ranked as one of the most highly trusted professionals. The demand for pharmacists is high and ever-increasing a shortfall of many as 157,000 pharmacists nationwide is predicted by 2020, according to a 2001 report by the Pharmacy Manpower Project.


The UNM College of Pharmacy thanks Walgreens for sponsoring the white coat ceremony and reception.


For more information about the UNM College of Pharmacy, please visit

Contact: Lynn Melton, 272-3322

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