College of Medicine graduate students mark first ethics ceremony

Penn State College of Medicine welcomed its incoming graduate students pursuing master's or doctoral degrees on Friday, Aug. 21, with the inaugural Graduate Student Oath Ceremony, which took place at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

In the presence of faculty, friends and peers, current graduate students were invited to be the first to recite the Graduate Student Oath. Then incoming students received their first white laboratory coats, a symbol of their entrance into the biomedical research profession. Following the distribution of the coats more than 50 of the 63 entering graduate students joined together to recite the newly created pledge to uphold the values of integrity, professionalism and scholarship in biomedical research.

“Science has long been regarded as one of the most honorable professions, and scientists are highly respected for their informed and impartial opinions,” said Michael F. Verderame, associate dean of graduate studies. “Yet even our profession has recently seen ethical failings that seriously erode the public’s confidence in our results and expert advice. I am thrilled that our students have decided to publicly declare their desire to uphold the highest ethical values as they begin their careers. We are more confident than ever that our students will apply the education they receive from Penn State College of Medicine in whatever career they choose carrying these important values forward to the benefit of society.”

Prompted by an article in Science magazine, a group of College of Medicine graduate students spent the past year developing an oath that reflected Penn State values. “We wanted to highlight the integrity and professionalism to which our graduate students aspire,” said Rachel Lantry, president of the Graduate Student Association and physiology graduate assistant. “It was important for us to ensure that our graduate students maintain a certain level of ideals, regardless of their background, degree, or graduate program.”

To see photos of the ceremony, visit http://live.psu.edu/stilllife/2129 online.

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Last Updated November 18, 2010