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Convocation & White Coat plans revised

Dear colleagues,

Earlier this month, I shared my pride in our college’s leadership as we continue to navigate a global pandemic. Vaccination records among Heritage College students, faculty and staff are already exceeding our benchmarks. Despite these valiant efforts, COVID cases continue to trend up across the state. Educational continuity will require continued vigilance.

Our primary goal at the Heritage College is to provide quality osteopathic medical training to our students to create excellent physicians. In-person teaching/learning is critical to that mission. To keep our students safe and on track with their educational program, we have made the difficult decision to restructure our Class of 2025 Convocation and White Coat Ceremony on Sept. 19.

In place of our traditional all-college event in the Convocation Center, members of the Class of 2025 will attend ceremonies on their respective campuses. Faculty, staff, families and loved ones will be able to view the ceremony virtually.

The first half of the ceremony will feature remarks by:

  • Ohio University President Hugh Sherman
  • Heritage College Executive Dean Ken Johnson
  • Ohio Osteopathic Association President Henry Wehrum, and
  • Athens City-County Health Commissioner/Medical Director James Gaskell, who will be receiving this year’s Phillips Medal of Public Service.

Students across our three campuses will collectively engage in this portion of the ceremony from our Active Learning Classrooms. Formal remarks will also be recorded and posted on our event website for public viewing after the event.

During the second half of the ceremony, each first-year student will be coated by their campus dean. Once all students have received their white coats, the Heritage College’s Class of 2025 will recite the Osteopathic Pledge together, marking their official entry into the osteopathic medical profession.

We believe that this revised event format will allow us to honor our Class of 2025 while mitigating the public health risks associated with any large-scale indoor event. Thank you for your understanding as we work under increasingly difficult circumstances to align our college traditions with our public health commitments.


Ken Johnson, D.O.