USC University of Southern California

White Coat Ceremony Honors New Students

The USC School of Dentistry welcomed future dentists and dental hygienists to the profession during its 2009 White Coat Ceremony on August 28.

Avishai Sadan, Dean of the School of Dentistry, told students that dental school is a challenging but opportunity-rich experience.

“Make no mistake; dental school is an intense experience,” Sadan said. “The rewards, however, are immense; the public has long viewed dentists and dental hygienists as some of the most trustworthy and respected professionals.”

Sadan spoke of the various paths that dentists and dental hygienists can take, from clinical practice and community outreach to research and leadership roles within the profession.

“When it comes to career choices, the beauty of dentistry that it’s never all or none,” he said. “You can combine any of the aforementioned fields to create a unique career path that will make your journey on earth a meaningful one.”

He also emphasized the solemn vow that donning the white coat symbolizes.

“It symbolizes obligation and commitment, not privilege,” Sadan said. “By putting this coat on today you commit yourself to always put your patients first, to always do only what is right for them and to never compromise the ethical and clinical standards that the USC School of Dentistry is known for.”

New dental hygiene student Meghan Saunders said that she thoroughly understands the commitment to excellent patient care that she and her colleagues made. Not only does she have patient care knowledge due to her past experience as a physical therapist aid, she also has spent years observing her father, Professor of Clinical Dentistry Tim Saunders, in his practice.

“It was a no-brainer for me,” Meghan Saunders said of her decision to get her dental hygiene degree from USC. She said the faculty and staff of the USC School of Dentistry are “more than dedicated,” and that even after graduating in 2002 with a kinesiology degree, she “can’t get away from campus.”

Patrick Manzanares, DDS 2013, also comes from a family with a history of patient care, with a brother and father also in dentistry. His father, Robert Manzanares, graduated from the USC School of Dentistry in 1980 and went on to become the president of the New Mexico Dental Association.

With undergraduate degrees in biochemistry and political science, Patrick Manzanares says he also hopes to get involved in organized dentistry and other service activities alongside his school and Army obligations and is thankful for all of the opportunities that are ahead of him.

“The future of dentistry is in good hands,” said Robert Manzanares.