Division welcomes DPT Class of 2023 to profession with virtual White Coat Ceremony

BY JOHN HOBBS MA ’14
October 30, 2020

MORE THAN 150 DOCTOR OF PHYSICAL THERAPY STUDENTS put on their white coats for the first time and took a solemn oath to uphold the high standards befitting a USC physical therapy professional in a virtual ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 29.

“I want to send a heartfelt congratulations to each of you for getting to such a momentous day in your journey,” Instructor of Clinical Physical Therapy Terry Richardson II told the residential and hybrid DPT students. “We, at the Division, understand the amount of commitment and sacrifice that went into each of you being here today.”

“I believe there is greatness in each of you and that each of you has the potential to create a massive impact on our profession and the world at large.”

—Terry Richardson II,
Instructor of Clinical Physical Therapy

The program, which took place on the Zoom platform, featured remarks from Associate Dean James Gordon; Associate Professor of Clinical Physical Therapy (and former Associate Chair) Cheryl Resnik DPT ’97; Professor of Clinical Physical Therapy and Director of the DPT program (residential pathway) Rob Landel MS ’84, DPT ’96; and Professor of Clinical Physical Therapy and Director of the DPT program (hybrid pathway) Julie Tilson DPT ’98, MS ’09.

Although the program was virtual, students were able to physically put on their white coats earlier in October in pre-recorded videos prepared for the ceremony. During the pandemic, students have been grouped into learning pods of no more than 10 people to allow for physical distancing. Each of these groups, housed in separate rooms, was coated by their assigned faculty members, and the videos were compiled into a 25-minute segment.

During Richardson’s speech, he advised the incoming class to identify their core values and make sure they are working toward them and to find a mentor, who can help guide them through their education and early careers. 

“I believe there is greatness in each of you and that each of you has the potential to create a massive impact on our profession and the world at large,” he told the class. 

After the ceremony, faculty members held virtual micro-receptions with the students. 

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