Doctor of Physical Therapy Program Hosts White Coat Ceremony

DPT group photo

student being coated on stageThe Lincoln Memorial University Doctor of Physical Therapy (LMU-DPT) program hosted a White Coat Ceremony for the Class of 2024 on April 9 in Knoxville, Tennessee. The ceremony was held at the Rothchild Catering and Conference Center and featured 57 students who began in May 2021 as the inaugural cohort of the program.


During the ceremony each student was presented a white laboratory coat to signify they have demonstrated the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to move on to the next phase of physical therapy training. This ritual provides an opportunity to reflect on the importance of humanism in physical therapy practice and patient-centered care.


“White Coat ceremonies are some of my favorite events,” said keynote speaker Nicole Piemonte, PhD. “It’s a time to reflect on what it means to have chosen a life in health care, and it sets the tone for what comes next for all of you, which is really taking care of patients.”

Hanigan and Yost with guest speaker


 Piemonte is assistant dean of Student Affairs and assistant professor of medical humanities at Creighton University School of Medicine in Phoenix. Piemonte holds the Peekie Nash Carpenter Endowed Chair in Medicine at Creighton University. She received her PhD from the University of Texas Medical Branch where she studied continental philosophy, medical ethics, literature and medicine, and medical pedagogy.

The ceremony also featured the welcome from Dr. Christopher J. Loyke, dean and chief academic officer for the LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM); Dr. Kellee Harper-Hanigan, DPT program director; remarks from the class president Connor Hicks; and reciting of the physical therapy oath from Dr. Tim Yost, DPT director of clinical education.


“We see it fitting to hold this ceremony to celebrate the profession of physical therapy and to renew our collective sense of purpose and belief in our mission,” said Hanigan. “We really feel the experiences we offer will prepare our students to become knowledgeable, skilled, reflective, and collaborative practitioners.


Faculty members coated the students on stage during the ceremony. Program faculty include: Hanigan, Yost, Dr. Mike Spadafora, Dr. Laura Gagnon, Dr. Kwaku Kankam, Dr. Lawrence Ramiscal, Dr. Ian Rheault, and Dr. Wanli Lei.


The Lincoln Memorial University Doctor of Physical Therapy Program is located in Knoxville, Tennessee on the campus of LMU-Knoxville (9731 Cogdill Road). DPT is an integral part of LMU’s values-based learning community and is dedicated to advancing physical therapy practice through interprofessional and evidence-based educational opportunities that engage and support student in their development into knowledgeable, skilled, reflective, and collaborative practitioners. For more information visit, call the LMU-Knoxville at 865.338.5746 or email [email protected].

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