Hanna Stanley- White Coat Ceremony Address May 2019

Hello everyone, and welcome to the 3rd annual Emory & Henry PA white coat ceremony.

I would almost guarantee that everyone is extremely proud to be here today.

Parents and family, I can’t imagine the pride you must have toward your amazing sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, husbands, wives, significant others, here today about to don their first white coats. It is such an accomplishment just to be here, and your pride is very well warranted. I am sure they are glad to have you as supporters here today and through the rest of the journey, they are about to embark on.

Faculty, I am sure you are proud of the decisions you have made in accepting these bright young students, and I hope you’re proud of all you’ve done to teach, mentor, and support the class of 2019 and the class of 2020. I must say we are proud of you for putting up with us too.

PA class of 2020, we are just proud we survived our didactic education. We may be shells of humans at this point, but hey we made it! We’ve had a nice little break and are fresh and excited to start our clinical rotations this summer.

PA class of 2019, maybe not so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, but these guys should be so proud that they are just 3 short months from graduating as the first-ever class of PA students from this college! Congrats to the class of 2019, you all are amazing and have led us in a great direction as we hope to do for the class of 2021.

Finally, the PA Class of 2021! I remember sitting where you are today and getting chills as I listened to the faculty and the different speakers talk about what an honor it is just to have been admitted to this program. It really is a big deal, and I hope you’re so proud of yourselves. You all are about to embark on the most rewarding, ridiculous, and difficult journey you may ever go through, and I hope you’re ready.

I don’t have a life-changing story as Ryan did last year, but I just wanted to take some time today to talk about the transitions of life. I fully believe that if you are not learning, growing, and becoming a better version of yourself every single day, then you aren’t doing what you were placed in this world to do. As time goes on, we are making continuous changes to our hearts, our appearances, our educational status, our familial status, our character, and everything that makes us individuals. These changes may not always be outwardly visible, so sometimes it may be difficult to remain motivated and keep moving in the right direction. Today, however, is one of those life-changing days. A day when there is a physical reward, an outward change that others may see, and a start of a whole new version of yourselves. It is a day you’ll remember forever.

Today you get the absolute honor of wearing your first white coat. This coat represents all that you are working toward and likely have been for quite some time.

This coat is professionalism – how you carry yourself, how you treat others – patients and colleagues alike.

This coat is trust – the patients you will see while wearing this coat will disclose things to you that they are afraid of, ashamed of, and would never tell another soul. They will trust you to change and in some cases save their lives.

This coat is integrity – your honesty with patients, your morals to determine right from wrong, even when it is difficult.

This coat is knowledge – you are now held to such a high standard, so you must do your best to learn and grow in your study of medicine every single day.

Today, all this is quite literally placed upon your shoulders. So today will be absolutely a life-changing time that you will remember forever. Today, you become student providers. Today represents the rest of your lives as professionals, medical providers, and lifelong learners. Though the rest of the days from here on out in the program may seem like an uphill battle, I want you all to look back on today, remember the words that were spoken, remember the pride that you felt, and remember even in the toughest times the reason you are here and why you have received this highest honor.


Hanna Stanley, Class President, Class of 2020

  • Hanna Stanley addresses the new class at the White Coat ceremony


Lincoln Theater, Marion., Va