HPU’s First Nursing Cohort Presented with White Coats

Nov 02nd, 2022

HPU’s First Nursing Cohort Presented with White Coats

Pictured from left are Piper Dillon, from Aldie, Virginia; Hope Strickland, from Charlotte, North Carolina; Kellie Brewer, from Winston-Salem, North Carolina; and Gracie Felts, from Raleigh, North Carolina.


HIGH POINT, N.C., Nov. 2, 2022 – It was a moment of firsts for High Point University’s inaugural cohort of nursing students. The four students were presented with their white coats during the Department of Nursing’s first White Coat Ceremony on Oct. 29.

“This is an exciting time, and I actually get teary-eyed when I see my students walking down the hall in their uniforms,” said Dr. Racquel Ingram, founding chair for the department. “I am so proud of these four ladies and how hard they are working to master essential nursing skills. I know they will deliver compassionate, collaborative and scientifically excellent nursing care amid an interdisciplinary team and become leaders in whatever area of nursing practice they choose.”

Dr. Daniel Erb, HPU provost, addressed the students at the ceremony.

“Class of 2024, we are proud of you,” said Erb. “Today, as you are robed in your white coat remember that it is a symbol of healing, compassion and hope. As you are robed in your white coat and take your oath, you will not only embark on your career as a nurse, but also, today you will join the HPU family of clinicians. You will begin a new era at High Point University, an era of nursing.”

This group of students began their education in August, continuing into their clinical part of the curriculum after receiving their white coat. This is their first year in the program and they will graduate in May 2024, during HPU’s Centennial Anniversary. The students will be working at local hospitals to gain real-world experience after receiving their white coats.

“I’m excited to gain real-world experience and learn how registered nurses in the field have different techniques that will add on to what we have been learning in school,” said Kellie Brewer, part of the inaugural nursing cohort.

The students have been learning in the 50,000-square-foot state-of-the-art complex in Parkway Commons on campus. The complex includes a 16-bed skills lab with 14 diverse simulators modeling an acute care environment, as well as three high-fidelity simulation suites – adult health nursing, maternal-newborn nursing and pediatric nursing.

About HPU’s first nursing class:

The four nursing students hail from across the East Coast, with Brewer from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, a Triad city, and Hope Strickland, from Charlotte, North Carolina. Gracie Felts, from Raleigh, North Carolina, and Piper Dillon, from Aldie, Virginia, went to HPU for their undergraduate studies. Dillon says she chose HPU for nursing because it’s a program where she can help pave the way for future nursing students.

“Thinking about the students coming in after us, we are able to help form the HPU nursing program through our experiences,” said Dillon. “I’m excited to shadow the registered nurses in the hospitals where we have clinicals to see what our future will look like and to learn more about their experiences in health care. We’re all excited to learn more about the specialties we want to work in throughout the next two years.”

About the White Coat Ceremony:

The white coat, worn by medical professionals, is often seen as a symbol of authority, purity, professionalism, caring and trust. Since its inception in 1993, the White Coat Ceremony has become a national and international phenomenon among medical schools. The ceremony was designed to welcome new medical students into the medical profession and alert beginning students to the need to balance excellence in science with compassionate patient care. It has since been adopted by hundreds of colleges and universities involved in the education and training of a variety of health and medical professions, including the physician assistant.

In 2014, nursing programs adopted the white coat ceremony in representation of the critical role nurses play on the health care team. It is viewed as a rite of passage to welcome students to clinical practice with a focus on compassionate, collaborative and scientifically excellent care. The ceremony is typically held prior to students going out into their clinical training.