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St. Bonaventure University

St. Bonaventure hosts inaugural White Coat Ceremony for Physician Assistant Studies students

Jun 08, 2021

White Coat Ceremony group
Twenty-four graduate students made history at St. Bonaventure University Friday as the university held its first White Coat Ceremony for the inaugural class of its Physician Assistant Studies program.

“The most important element of the ceremony is the oath that students take in front of family members, their faculty, their peers, to acknowledge that central obligation of truly caring for the patient,” said Fr. Dominic Monti, O.F.M., as he delivered the invocation at the ceremony. “This is very consistent with our mission here at St. Bonaventure, because our patron taught us, ‘there is no knowledge without love.’” 

The White Coat Ceremony marks a rite of passage for the students to become health care providers. Before entering their clinical phase, the students are cloaked with an iconic symbol of professionalism and trust – the white coat. The cohort has completed its first semester and the next phase of the students’ education will be interacting with actual patients at various clinical sites.

PA Studies students“We are very proud of our students. They have successfully completed one of the most difficult parts of their education to become physician assistants and deserve this recognition,” said Dr. Keith Young, founding director of the Physician Assistant Studies program.

Keynote speaker Rafael Genao, who has coordinated medical mission trips for more than 20 years, spoke about humanism and healing in his address.

The PA Studies program welcomed its first cohort of students in January 2021. The program is housed in historic Francis Hall, which underwent more than $17.5 million in renovations in 2020-21 to be utilized by the School of Health Professions.

A recording of the White Coat Ceremony is available on the university’s livestream channel at Pictures from the event are available on the university’s Flickr account at


About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. In 2020, St. Bonaventure was named the #2 regional university value in New York and #3 in the North by U.S. News and World Report.