JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The East Tennessee State University Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy held a traditional white coat ceremony on Friday to welcome 54 student pharmacists in the Class of 2026.

Dr. Debbie Byrd, dean of Gatton College of Pharmacy, led the ceremony’s address. “Class of 2026, you are on a career path that will allow you to serve, lead and impact your community in a wide variety of ways as student pharmacists,” said Byrd.

The white coat signifies a student pharmacist’s status as a health care professional and a tradition of humanistic care, the release states.

The Class of 2026 was cloaked by Byrd and special guest Dr. Lucy Adkins Shell, executive director of the Tennesse Board of Pharmacy and a Gatton College of Pharmacy alumna, who also spoke at the ceremony.

Other speakers included ETSU President Dr. Brian Nolan; Dr. Kimberly D. McCorkle, provost, and senior vice president for academics at ETSU and Bailey Boyd, president of Gatton’s Class of 2025. The Oath of a Student Pharmacist was administered by Jonathan Holand, president of the college’s Class of 2023.