Dr. Rodney Parry, vice president and dean of the Sanford School of Medicine gave the keynote address that focused on the importance of the white coat and Dr. Jerome Freeman also addressed the students and encouraged them to be compassionate and committed physicians.�
Dr. Norman Neu, campus dean for the west river campus, Dr. Lori Hansen, campus dean for the Yankton campus and Dr. Janet Lindemann, dean of Medical Student Education assisted Dr. Paul Bunger, dean of Medical Student Affairs in the presentation of the white coats to the class.�
Mr. T. Denny Sanford was presented with a framed white coat, a symbol of appreciation for his support of the medical school.�
The white coat ceremony signifies the start of a medical student's career and becomes a meaningful event when they recite the "Affirmation of the Physician."� The students, comprised of 24 women and 27 men, received a short white coat that symbolizes their student status. Doctors and faculty members wear a long white coat.
The entering 2006 class are graduates from 28 different South Dakota high schools and six students are graduates from a high school out of state. Thirty-one of the students attended college in South Dakota, 12 attended college in states bordering South Dakota and the remaining eight received their college degrees from universities outside of the region. Most of the students were biology majors, while the others have either biology, chemistry or physical science related undergraduate degrees or non-science degrees.